photo: contributed

Kinky Boots musical more than just a show

The award winning musical lands in Kelowna March 21

For Andrew Malone, the role he plays in the award-winning Kinky Boots is more than just a part.

The American actor is the first understudy for the lead role of Lola, a cabaret performer and drag queen tapped to produce a line of high-heeled boots for a flagging shoe factory. He also plays Simon Sr., Lola’s homophobic father.

“To me, this role is such a big deal for people,” said Malone, who has been approached by several audience members seeking help with issues touched on in the performance.

“In Michigan, I had a couple come up to me telling me they had a son in the army who didn’t know how to come out and they asked me how to encourage him. They asked me how to show him they weren’t ashamed. I told them I am not ashamed and encourage them to say it with love, if they can say it to me they can say it to their child. The son actually hit me up on Instagram and told me ‘thank you’ and that he feels free.”

As the understudy of Lola, Malone gets rare insight into his main character, Simon Sr. by seeing both sides of his actions and personality.

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When he isn’t embodying Simon Sr., who has different views on life than he does, he is part of the ensemble.

“I just feel that as an actor it is my responsibility to tell a story. No one is born evil, it’s all about what we have learned.” said Malone. “Being part of Kinky Boots is so much bigger than myself, it’s a humbling experience.”

To take on the role of Lola, Malone had to buy his own pair of high heels to practice, since Simon Sr. is the only one in the show that doesn’t wear a heel.

“I bought my own heels and carried them around with me for my ankles to get used to it because they hurt (in a heel),” said Malone. “Learning how to walk in heels, let alone the boots, was an experience. I was full of fear but I made it fun and got my inner Beyoncé out and let her sing and strut.”

For this Kinky Boots tour, TROIKA Entertainment paired with True North Touring to bring the four time Tony award winning musical by Harvey Fierstein and Grammy Award winning rock icon Cyndi Lauper to smaller venues and will land in Kelowna March 21, 2019.

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Malone says that performing in front of smaller audiences reminds him that he isn’t just there to show the crowd a good time, but to also tell a story.

“I love being in front of a big town audience because of the electricity when the fourth wall is broken, they (the audience) is up and dancing with us. Then the more intimate audiences, I see them nodding their heads and listening to the story.”

To maintain continuity and the musical’s wow-factor, Ralph Schmidtke general manager of Quatro Entertainment, which has partnered with True North Touring, makes sure the logistics are maintained.

“The only real challenge is the production itself, it’s the driving distances, moving the cast and company this large on a night to night basis,” said Schmidtke.

The set pieces prove to be the most challenging to move according to Schmidtke because the crew will have approximately 12 hours to set up the stage only to pack it up again that night or the next morning.

Bringing the show to smaller towns to attract more Broadway fans is a particularly exciting moment for Schmidtke who has traveled to New York City to see Kinky Boots,

“It’s about getting those people that don’t make a regular trip to New York or to London to see Broadway shows. We have made a conscious effort to bring these shows to markets that wouldn’t necessarily get to see them,” said Schmidtke.

Tickets will be made available through the musical’s website www.kinkybootstour.com

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@sydneyrmorton
sydney.morton@kelownacapnews.com

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