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Interview with Lindsay Nicole Chambers of Kinky Boots

Lindsay imageThe hit Broadway musical Kinky Boots will be marching on to the stage at ASU Gammage next Tuesday, September 16 until Sunday, September 21.   Nominated for thirteen Tonys and winning six, Kinky Boots is a comedy musical based on the 2005 British film of the same name.

It’s the true story of a struggling shoe factory and its young owner, Charlie Price who forges an unlikely partnership with Lola, a drag queen, to stop the factory from going under.   Earlier I had the chance to talk with actor/singer Lindsay Nicole Chambers who plays the part of Lauren in the current national touring company production and who’ll be appearing in the show next week in Tempe.   I began by asking whether the musical version of Kinky Boots has taken the same route as that other popular Broadway musical based on an earlier British film, The Full Monty, and changed the location to America.

“We’re still in Northampton, England,” Lindsay explained, “So we’re keeping it true to the movie and the original story.  We had a dialect coach all through rehearsals (helping with the British accents) so we got a lot of one-on-one help, and a lot of notes, so everyone’s pretty up on it now.”

Lindsay Nicole Chambers with cast member Steven Booth

Lindsay Nicole Chambers with cast member Steven Booth

Could she explain who Lauren is and where the character fits into the show?   “Lauren is one of the factory workers,” Lindsay replied.   “Like everyone who works in the factory there were generations of her family who worked there.  She grew up with Charlie.  They went to school together, though they didn’t necessarily get along.  She kind of thinks he’s a spoiled little brat.  As Charlie starts to fire everybody she takes him to task and suggests that he thinks outside the box and try to find a niche market, so I like to think I make the story happen.  And of course, they fall in love, which is so great.”

Had she seen the film?   “I saw the movie on a random showing on TV and was blown away by the story.  It was so self-affirming, and it was lovely.  I mean, what a lovely story about friendship, about family and legacy, and it carries through to the musical.”

Was she ever influenced by the Lauren in the film?   “Actually I’m going to steal this from Kyle Taylor Parker (who plays the part of Lola) in a conversation we were just having over dinner one night when we were in rehearsal.  We were talking about the differences between the movie and the musical.  The story is the same, but the musical is, you know, singing and dancing; it’s glittery.  The musical is a different delivery system of the happiness of that story.  In a way, you can’t base your character off what it was doing in the movie.  It was such a different vibe.”

As a performer, how difficult has the path to being in a national touring production been?    “Oh, I’ve been doing this for a long time now,” Lindsay said, “So the path for me to becoming a lead in a musical has been, you know, long.  Actually, my first equity gig was the national tour of Hairspray.  I’ve had to pay my dues, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.  I really appreciate where I am because I know how it feels, every step of the way.”

Kinky 1

And how about life on the road, away from family and friends?   “Well, actually my best man from my wedding is on the road with me, so I have a little of my family on the road with me.  The cast has been really great.  We all get along really well.  But, yeah, you know, it’s difficult.  I was married, like, two and a half years ago, so… yeah, it’s certainly different than living in your apartment with your cat and your husband.  But my husband travels.  He’s a singer in The Spin Doctors, so he travels a lot.  He knows how it is.”

Wait a minute.  The Spin Doctors?  Did she mean… Two Princes and Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong?  The New York band?  Those Spin Doctors?   “Yeah,” Lindsay laughed.  “He’s the lead singer in The Spin Doctors.  Isn’t that crazy?  As far as touring, we’re a match made in heaven.  It’s been working out.”

One of the questions local audiences always seem to ask touring performers when they come to ASU Gammage during the Thursday night Talk Back Q&A session with the cast is whether there’ll be a chance to visit any parts of the city while they’re here.  I asked Lindsay the same question.  “Unfortunately, we’ll only be there for a week,” she said.  “Some of the folks will have understudy rehearsals.  Las Vegas (where the tour is currently performing) has been great because we’ve been here for three weeks, so we’ve had a lot of time to drive somewhere and drive back and we’ve had a couple of days off, but we won’t have quite as much time in Tempe.  If you have any suggestions, though, that would be great.”

Kinky again

How about the future?  Is there life after Kinky Boots already in the plans?  “I’m on the road with the show for a year, so things are looking Kinky Boots for the next year, but, you know, we all have agents and managers that are always looking around, looking for new things to come along, and, you know, I also do voice-over work, so that you can do while you have an eight-show-a-week job, but I’m kinky for a year.   And I welcome that year. It’s so nice to be locked in.”

I’d heard that Lindsay once had something of a crush on actor Sir Ian McKellen – an odd choice for certain well-known reasons – and I wondered if the story was true or was it one of those urban legends she wished would disappear.  “Wait, wait, where did you hear that?” she asked after she stopped laughing.  “You know, I do sort of have a crush on him.  Isn’t that weird?  Well, not so weird.  I mean, he’s the most talented actor.  I would spend some time with that man, for sure.  It’s sort of my husband’s fault because he’s been touring so long and he listened to an audio book of Homer’s Odyssey, narrated by Sir Ian and he’s just amazing.  And it’s so long, it’s quite a feat.”

And finally, the critics.  Does she read her reviews?  “I don’t like to read them,” she said, “But if my family or my agent says, hey, you got a great review, then I’ll read that one.  I’ll only read the good ones if I hear through the grapevine they’re good. “

Kinky poster

For times, dates and tickets to see Lindsay as Lauren in Kinky Boots, CLICK HERE for the official ASU Gammage website.

To find out more regarding the national touring production, CLICK HERE for the official Kinky Boots website.

And to find out more about Lindsay, CLICK HERE for Lindsay’s official website.

Posted in Interviews

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