Adam Kaplan, Star of Kinky Boots
Speaks to INsite about the Broadway Smash Hitting Atlanta this Month
Kinky Boots, the smash-hit musical that brings together four-time Tony Award-winner Harvey
Fierstein (Book) and Grammy Award-winning rock icon Cyndi Lauper, makes its Atlanta premiere at the Fox Theatre later this month. Kinky Boots took home six Tony Awards in 2013 including Best Musical, Best Score (Cyndi Lauper), Best Choreography (Jerry Mitchell), Best Orchestrations (Stephen Oremus) and Best Sound Design (John Shivers). We spoke with Adam Kaplan who plays Charlie in one of the show’s lead roles.
When you did you discover your love of theatre and what was it that originally drew you the craft?
I started performing in my middle school’s production of Oklahoma, when I played Curly. As a side note to any 13-year-olds out there, I wouldn’t recommend trying to do Curly. My voice was changing and I was constantly jumping octaves mid-song! My love for theatre started a few years before that. My dad took me to see West Side Story at our local high school and I was hooked. I was taken by the whole spectacle— the acting, singing, dancing, and drama of it all.
At what point did you realize you might want to try doing this professionally?
It was probably around my junior year of high school when I realized that this is what I wanted to study in college. But my parents will tell you that, for as long as they can remember, performing is all I ever said I wanted to do when I grew up. My parents were incredibly supportive in making the transition from performing as a hobby to what is now my profession. I also owe much of my success to my teachers and classmates at Elon University. They kicked my butt and made sure I was ready for this tough industry.
What was it like when you finally made it to Broadway and performed in Newsies?
My life changed when I made my Broadway debut. Performing was my first love and, while Broadway was obviously the goal, I was realistic about the fact that very few people actually make it. The night of my debut is a blur, for sure. But what I do remember is taking my bow and seeing my friends and family in the audience and just beaming. Newsies will always hold such a special place in my heart— it was arguably the best two years of my life. We’ll see if that holds true after this tour!
Getting the lead role in the first national tour of Kinky Boots is obviously huge for your career. What sort of process did you have to go through in order to get the part?
This is a huge step forward in my career, for sure. I was doing a production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying in North Carolina when I was told there was an opportunity to audition. I was able to fly to New York on my day off and sing and read for the team. I had to fly back to North Carolina that afternoon to do a show, but was able to come back to New York for callbacks. It was a whirlwind process!
Can you talk a little bit about your character Charlie Price and the basic storyline of the show?
Charlie Price reminds me a lot of Pippin in that he is searching for his purpose. He is a people-pleaser and, while he may seem selfish at times, he really only is trying to do what’s best for those around him. His father passes away and leaves him the family shoe factory, a job that he desperately wants nothing to do with. Just when it seems that Charlie will have to close the factory he bumps into Lola, a fabulous drag queen, and together they start making Kinky Boots!
What can you tell us about Cyndi Lauper’s music for the show? I’ve heard it’s very different from that of traditional Broadway musicals. How would you describe it?
Cyndi’s music is spectacular. She certainly knows how to write a song. Yes, you’re correct in that in doesn’t match the traditional music theatre style. She looked at what was hip and popular on the charts today and drew from her own inspiration in order to create our Tony Award-winning score. Yet, what’s so wonderful about the music is that just like any other musical, the songs drive the plot and are infused with real grit and emotion.
The original film version of Kinky Boots was not remotely a smash hit. Why do you think the Broadway musical version has emerged as such a surprising success?
I can’t speak for why the film wasn’t as successful as our production. However, I do think that our producers assembled one of the finest creative teams around. Jerry Mitchell, Harvey Fierstein, Stephen Oremus, and Greg Barnes– who are all musical theatre royalty– made our show pop, move, and more importantly take the audience on a journey that preaches love and acceptance. Add Cyndi Lauper’s music to the mix and I think you have your answer as to why people can’t get enough of the Boots!
Kinky Boots will show from March 29 – April 3 at The Fox Theatre. For more information visit Foxtheatre.org