Kelan M. Smith is an actor, musician, singer, music director, and composer originally from Menomonie, Wisconsin. Kelan began playing music at a young age, and began playing music professionally at the age of 10. Just a couple years later he discovered his love of theatre, performing at the stunning Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts in downtown Menomonie.
Kelan left Menomonie in the summer of 2016 to pursue a BFA in Musical Theatre Performance at Columbia College Chicago. He then graduated cum laude from Columbia in the spring of 2020. Since his arrival in Chicago, Kelan has worked with a substantial amount of theatre companies in a plethora of positions. His acting work has been seen at The Marriott Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Timber Lake Playhouse, The House Theatre, Boho Theatre, Metropolis Center for the Performing Arts, Underscore Theatre, Haven Theatre, Bristol Valley Theatre, Playmaker’s Laboratory, and The Beautiful City Project. As a pit musician his work has been seen with The Mercury Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre, Refuge Theatre, Pride Arts, Underscore Theatre, The Beautiful City Project, and the Equity Jeff Awards. He has also worked as a music director for Timber Lake Playhouse, as well as Playground Stage.
In addition to performing onstage, Kelan also writes for the stage as a composer and lyricist. His most recent work Out of Focus explores generational trauma, led by a young protagonist whose mother suffers from early onset dementia. Written with book writer and co-lyricist Quinn Rigg, Out of Focus has had two workshops and a demo cast recording. The first workshop was in 2020 and was facilitated by Jermaine Hill and Justin Brill at Columbia College Chicago, as part of the college’s BFA curriculum for the students. The second workshop was in 2022, and included actors such as Jeff Award Nominees McKinley Carter, and Nolan Robinson. The demo cast album was also produced in 2022 and included actors such as Liam Oh (The Notebook) and Sawyer Smith (The Devil Wears Prada.)
Kelan’s work as a composer/lyricist can also be seen with Streamline Theatre, a company for which Kelan is a co-founder along with Callan Roberts. Streamline Theatre produces exclusively new musicals written and performed in two weeks, based on titles given to the writing team 24 hours before writing begins.
Awards and honors include a 2019 Jeff Award nomination for Best Ensemble (Haymarket at Underscore Theatre) and a Jim Jacobs Scholarship for excellence in musical theatre performance.