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Interview:
"Kinky Boots" Michigan cast member, 3 Things To Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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Five years after its triumphant debut in Chicago, “Kinky Boots” is still kicking up a storm around the country.

The musical -- inspired by the film about a drag queen who helps a British shoe factory owner out of his economic doldrums -- won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Original Score for Cyndi Lauper (the first female lone composer to win in that category), and three Laurence Olivier Awards in the U.K. It’s opened worldwide and has become a staple on the theater touring circuit.

The current production features Ann Arbor-born, Milan-raised Eric Stanton Betts in its company, making his national touring debut...

• Betts, 27, caught the theater bug when he was 10 years old and did his first play during middle school. That led him to minor in theater at Marymount Manhattan College and subsequently move to Los Angeles to perform film and TV. “It was a fluke I auditioned (for ‘Kinky Boots’),” Betts says by phone. “My friend has posted on Facebook asking if anyone had high-heeled shoes in his size. I had a pair I bought for a different show I did the year before. I said, ‘I’ve got some? What do you need them for?’ He said, ‘’Kinky Boots’ is auditioning tomorrow.’ ‘What? No, no, you can’t use them. I’m going...’ I ended up going and had a successful audition and got a part.”

• Betts says he was particularly lured by the message of tolerance and open-mindedness that’s at the core of “Kinky Boots.” “That message and the fun energy of it really appeals to me. I knew it was something I’d enjoy doing,” he explains. “And the music is incredible. It’s a fun show to see and perform and to hear. You can listen to the (music) over and over and over again and never get bored. It really holds up well.”

• Betts is well aware that “Kinky Boots” is a plum for a first national tour role, and he’s enjoying the life of being a theatrical road warrior. “It’s really fun,” he says. “We’re going to a lot of places I never thought about going to; Unfortunately some of them we’re only there one night so we only get to do the show and leave. But I’ve been able to spend a decent amount of time in places like Kansas City, where we had 6,000 people cheering us each night and was a special experience for every one of us. But living on the road has its challenges, but I spend a lot of time going on runs by myself. I find my sanity in that.”



If You Go:

• “Kinky Boots”

• Friday through Sunday, Nov. 3-5.

• The Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit.

• Tickets are $19.98-$66.50.

• Call 313-471-6611 or visit 313Presents.com.

Web Site: www.313Presents.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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