While it appears that alliances are shifting and the solid place Broadway couple Reed Kelly and Josh Canfield have secured on “Survivor: San Juan Del Sur” may be slipping, the two will always have the stage.
The two are participating in the second Blood vs. Water setup for the long-running show and are one of the only romantic couples remaining. Most of the others remaining are parent and child, since the brother-sister pairings were among the first to be split apart.
It was, according to online interviews, 32-year-old Kelly who was the first to consider playing the game of “Survivor,” although by the time he had his audition tape completed, Canfield, 33, already had his in the can as well.
And while Kelly sees their physical strength as an asset on “Survivor” – the Broadway performers are gym regulars to ensure they have the endurance for long stage production numbers – Canfield in particular is emerging as one of the top strategic players in the game.
Last week, in a recap interview with Entertainment Weekly’s Dalton Ross, host Jeff Probst called Canfield a “very savvy and passionate player,” and said he could be setting himself up for a win, even as his game and his secure relationship with Kelly have put targets on their backs. (Last week, he was one of two competitors castaways had talked about voting out, until another quit the game, eliminating the need for tribal council.)
Canfield said in a CBS interview that he can take it all on “Survivor” because he has “the stamina to make it through the challenges, I have the mental grit to get past the mind games and the gutsiness to make the big moves when they need to be made. I am ‘Survivor.’”
Kelly also said his strengths could take him to the end of the game. “I’m a people-person who is physically tough, smart, well-spoken and strong willed; that last characteristic makes me a fighter until the end. I can lie when needed, I love to compete and I excel under pressure,” he told the network in his bio.
Both said they believed the once-in-a-lifetime experience would strengthen their relationship by giving them memories that they will share for a lifetime.
No matter the outcome, however, when the game is over and the million dollars is won, Kelly and Canfield will head back to Broadway where they will be more likely to land bigger roles now that their names are more familiar.
That’s not to say the two haven’t already been blessed on stage.
Kelly, a native of St. Paul, Minn., appeared as an Addams ancestor in “The Addams Family,” played the villain Swiss Miss in the pricy production of “Spider-Man: Turn of the Dark,” and was the understudy for the role of Chistery, Elphaba’s head flying monkey, in “Wicked.” (Originally, Chistery was a monkey who enjoyed watching birds fly, until the Wizard tricked Elphaba into casting a spell that gave the monkeys wings.)
Kelly – who once dated “American Idol” alum and failed North Carolina congressman Clay Aiken until the relationship ended in 2010 – last appeared on Broadway on August 25, 2013, in the ensemble of “Spider-Man,” about six months before the show closed due to dwindling ticket sales.
His film and TV credits include 2007’s “Music and Lyrics” and “I Am Legend” with Will Smith and the short-lived TV series “Smash.”
Canfield appeared in the off-Broadway production of “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,” loosely based on Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace,” and wrote and directed a show that opened in London.
He also was nominated as Best Actor by Broadwayworld.com for his roles as Joseph in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” (Canfield once worked with the show’s creator, Andrew Lloyd Weber) and Jesus in “Godspell,” both in Florida at the Miracle Theater in Coral Gables.
According to his Facebook page, Canfield is currently working on this third musical, “I Am Zombie.”
The international performer counts as his favorite roles those of Claude in the 1970s-themed musical “Hair” in Germany, Barnaby Slade in the Noel Coward musical “Sail Away” in London, the mischievous Puck in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Touchtone in “Like You Like It” in Wales. He also enjoyed playing Luke in “Next Fall,” perhaps because the character mirrors in own life in ways. The show is about two gay men in a committed relationship. Luke is devoutly religious, while Adam is an atheist.
In their own lives, both Canfield and Kelly are devoted Christians. They attend Hillsong Church in New York City, where Canfield is a volunteer choir director, and despite the two being demonstrative on camera while filming “Survivor,” Canfield said in a diary interview that the two are remaining abstinent until marriage.
“Survivor: San Juan Del Sur” airs Wednesdays on CBS.