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‘Kinky Boots’ actor happy to be on stage

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STORY WRITTEN BY RITA CHARLESTON
For Digital First Media

“Kinky Boots,” the smash hit musical that took home six 2013 Tony Awards, is now playing at the Forrest Theatre through May 10.

Bringing together four-time Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein and Grammy Award-winner rock icon Cyndi Lauper, the musical centers on Charlie Price who has reluctantly inherited his father’s shoe factory, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. Trying to live up to his father’s legacy and save his family business, Charlie finds inspiration in the form of Lola. A fabulous and unstoppable drag performer in need of some sturdy stilettos, Lola turns out to be the one person who can help Charlie become the man he’s meant to be. As they work together to turn the factory around, this unlikely pair finds that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible, and discover that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world.

Appearing as Lola is Kyle Taylor Parker, who recently returned to the touring company after a three-month stint on Broadway, replacing Billy Porter. He says being on the road has its good and its more difficult moments.

“For instance, on the road you’re always in a different environment, whereas on Broadway you’re always on the same stage. You do your show and you go home. On the road, that’s not possible so every audience is different. But you get to fall in love with each and every one in a different way than when you’re always in the same place.”

Of course, he adds, Lola doesn’t care where she is as long as she’s up there on some stage. “Lola is one the most fulfilling and challenging roles I’ve ever played. This is the first Tony Award-winning role I’ve ever done. And she’s such a three-dimensional character that I’m not just here to tell a funny, happy story. I also try to touch people’s hearts and make certain people feel represented. It’s an opportunity to tell a story and bring certain situations to light.”

Parker, who is originally from Milwaukee, Wis., says he knew as a five-year-old that he wanted to be in show business. “Growing up my mom used to take me to the theater to expose me to the arts. The first show I ever saw was ‘Annie,’ and from the moment I saw it, I knew that’s what I wanted to do too.

“So my mom got me singing and acting lessons,” he continues, “I think it was like day care for her, but for me, it was just the beginning of everything I was working toward.”

Growing up, he says he was inspired by all kinds of music – and all kinds of people. He went on to study at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, and from there went on to appear in a number of notable roles.

Today, the singer/dancer/actor, who calls himself “a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none,” admits he’s thrilled to be achieving his dreams. “For me, the added bonus is the relationship the actor develops with the audience. When you’re on the stage acting, there’s always a third person there, and that’s the audience.”

For ticket information call  (800) 447-7400 or check  www.forrest-theatre.com.

"Kinky Boots" tour photo by Matthew Murphy

“Kinky Boots” tour photo by Matthew Murphy

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