Theatre professor looks inward for inspiration for his play


Program for TCU theatre’s production of “Tom Kellogg in B Flat”

By Caroline Love

TCU’s theatre professor Dr. T.J. Walsh is back with his latest chapter in Tom Kellog’s story with a new original play.  

“Tom Kellogg in B Flat,” written and directed by Walsh, follows the life of Tom Kellogg, a writer living in San Francisco. Kellogg’s books are criticized by the other characters for being too autobiographical, but Walsh said the play is not his autobiography.

“Much of what happens to him is not directly autobiographical,” he said. “But his sensibilities are close to mine.”

Friends and family congratulate William Wheeler, a junior musical theatre major who played Joe Miranti, on his performance in the show

“Tom Kellogg in B Flat” is not Walsh’s first play about Tom Kellogg; his play “Melrose Stories” that debuted at TCU in 2004 is also about him. Walsh is also currently working on another play about Tom Kellogg, according to the play’s program.

Walsh said he started writing “Tom Kellogg in B Flat” several years ago.

“It is interesting to write multiple plays around the same character,” he said. “To follow Tom as he looks to find where he belongs in the world.”

Walsh added that he wrote almost every day, but he didn’t have to do much research for the play.

“Research isn’t a big player in writing these types of plays,” he said. “This is more trusting memory, trusting emotions, trusting the story-telling process.”

The story is about love, specifically Tom Kellogg’s love life and how it impacts him. Walsh said he chose the romantic comedy genre because of its optimism.

“Romantic comedy asks the characters and the audience to see life as a cup half full,” he said. “I’m attracted to that.”

Mackenna Milbourn, a senior musical theatre major, performed the role of Jane Gold

Tom Kellogg is attracted to artistic women, including a ballerina and an actress. His love for the ballerina, Jane Gold, drives him toward optimism in the end. Left open-ended, the play’s final scene is where Tom decides to be positive about his future even though his current circumstances are negative.

Walsh said he wants the audience “to fall in love with these characters” and personally connect with them.

“I’d like them to be able to see some of their own life, their own choices, in these choices that Tom has had to make,” he said.