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Interview:
"Kinky Boots"is West Bloomfield actress' first big break
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Lauren Nicole Chapman moved to New York City shortly after graduating from Emerson College in Boston in 2013, Bachelor of Fine Arts in hands and eyes set on a big break in theater.

She certainly got that.

In March the 23-year-old West Bloomfield native won a part in the touring company of the Tony Award-winning musical "Kinky Boots" and, as fate would have it, wound up spending five months in the Broadway production before hitting the road, which she calls "an amazing surprise."

"It was beyond my wildest dreams that it could happen so quickly," says Chapman, who's part of the cast's ensemble and is the understudy for the female lead of Lauren (played by Lindsay Nicole Chambers). "I feel like this is a really special show just because it's one of the happiest shows I've ever seen. It has a lot of themes, but one of the main themes is you can change the world when you change your mind.

"I just think that's a really important message. Through all the sparkle and glitter and upbeat and fun music, there's a really strong message and that, I think makes it a very, very special show. The audience gets to go on this emotional journey with all the characters -- and have a really good time doing it."

Chapman was bitten by the theater bug during her youth, as an aspiring dancer whose parents "too me to see anything that came through at the Fisher Theatre, so there was never really a question of what I wanted to do when I grew up." She acted in productions at Abbott Middle School and West Bloomfield High School and spent her senior year at the Interlochen Arts Academy before heading off to Emerson. Chapman also spent a year during middle school at Stagecrafters in Royal Oak, while summers at Interlochen convinced her that, "OK, I'm going to do this anywhere they'll let me do this" -- including two summers with the Forestburgh Playhouse in upstate New York.

"I've been pedal to the metal this whole time," Chapman, who has a 13-year-old brother, says with a laugh. "My parents never questioned me once, so I've been really lucky. As parents do, they worried about how long it would take or what was the really of this happening for me, but they knew I had the drive to pursue it.

"So they were on boar right away. I'm lucky. Their support was really important and really helped me get to where I'm at right now."

Kinky Boots

January 15-25

Fisher Theatre in the Fisher Building, 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit

Call 313-872-1000 or visit www.broadwayindetroit.com for showtimes and ticket details.

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