Share “'Kinky Boots' star prepares for...”

'Kinky Boots' star prepares for high-kicking tour

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 8, 2014 at 7:55 am •  Published: July 8, 2014
Advertisement

NEW YORK (AP) — Kyle Taylor Parker is going from backup dancer to leading man — but staying in 6-inch heels.

The performer who has been in "Kinky Boots" since it made its debut in Chicago in 2012 will step into Billy Porter's formidable high heels as the star of the first national tour of "Kinky Boots," which kicks off in Las Vegas on Sept. 4.

"It's been this slow and wonderful journey toward taking over the role," Parker said. "For me, taking it on for the tour is not just a very happy occurrence. It's really an honor on many levels."

The Tony Award-winning musical is based on a 2005 British film about a staid British shoe factory on the brink of ruin that retrofits itself into a maker of footwear for drag queens. It has songs by Cyndi Lauper, a story by Harvey Fierstein and some fierce-looking drag queens. Now it leaves the cocoon of Broadway to travel America's heart.

"It's a show about pride. It's a show about acceptance. It's a show about joy," said Parker, who grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. "It gives voice to people who have not had a voice. An African-American gay man leading this show and telling this story of pride and acceptance is an honor. It truly is."

Following Las Vegas, the musical will play West Coast stops in Tempe, Arizona; San Diego, California; Portland, Oregon; Seattle; Denver; Los Angeles; San Francisco; and Costa Mesa, California, before heading east in 2015.

The new year will bring stops in Detroit; Nashville, Tennessee; Houston; St. Louis, Missouri; Cleveland; Philadelphia; Minneapolis; Boston; and Providence, Rhode Island.

Parker has been part of the show's ensemble of six drag queens called Angels since it began and also became an understudy for Lola, played by Tony Award-winner Porter. Now he'll spend months living out of a suitcase, something the former veteran of the national "In the Heights" tour says he loves.

"It's really great training because each theater is different, each environment is different. What your voice sounds like in Vegas is very different from what your voice sounds like in Wisconsin," he said. "Audiences are different, too. So for me it's the best training to give a consistent show no matter what the circumstances are."

Continue reading this story on the...