Home Hotspots Central Q&A: ‘Kinky Boots’ Returns to Straz Center

Q&A: ‘Kinky Boots’ Returns to Straz Center

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The smash-hit musical that brings together four-time Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein (Book) and Grammy Award-winning rock icon Cyndi Lauper (Tony Award-winner for Best Score for Kinky Boots) returns to the Straz Center’s Morsani Hall May 17-19, sponsored in part by the Tampa Bay Times.

The winner of six 2013 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Kinky Boots features a Tony Award-winning score by Cyndi Lauper, a book by Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein, and direction and choreography by Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell.  

Kinky Boots continues playing on stages around the globe and is currently represented with a Broadway production in its sixth year, a London production in its fourth year (having won the 2016 Olivier Award for Best Musical), a UK tour, the North American national tour in its fifth year and a Japanese production returning to Tokyo and Osaka for a second season this coming spring. Previous international productions of Kinky Boots include a Germany production, a Korean production which completed a third successful season this past spring, an extended run in Toronto (winner of the Dora Award for Best Musical) and an award-winning Australian production. The Grammy Award-winning original Broadway cast recording of Kinky Boots is available on Sony Masterworks Broadway.

Inspired by true events, Kinky Boots takes you from a gentlemen’s shoe factory in Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan. Charlie Price is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and continue the family business of Price & Son. With the factory’s future hanging in the balance, help arrives in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola, a fabulous performer in need of some sturdy new stilettos.

It was a pleasure to sit down with James May who plays George for this exclusive Hotspots interview:

At what age did you begin performing, and how did it happen?

I dabbled in performing when I was young, but I didn’t start doing musical theater until I hit high school at around the age of 14 or 15. However, I didn’t take it seriously until College, when I realized I was at the wrong school and wanted to do musical theater.

What was your first professional/paid role?

My very first paid acting job was when I was an understudy for a musical called Gull. It was a modern adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull. I was lucky enough to book that job right before I was leaving college.

How did you get cast in this Broadway Across America production of Kinky Boots?

I just went to the audition, it was an open call. Quickly into the audition process I realized it was a good fit for me. The casting department agreed, and here I am.

Other than this role, what has been your favorite to play?

Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, as I really like the depth and complexity of that show. It was really fun to dive into what I think makes Henry tick and motivates him to behave the way he does.

What is your fantasy role?

Definitely my dream role doesn’t exist on the stage. It would be Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas. I think it will eventually be adapted, and hopefully I can get the part.

What should our readers expect from this production of Kinky Boots?

Well what I love about the show is that it’s extremely universal. Charlie’s (main character) struggles is what anyone can relate to as he is trying to figure out what his place in the world is.

Is there anything else about you we should know?

I have an etsy shop where I make and sell Upcycle home goods. You can find out more about this at Instagram.com/upcycleangelo.

For more information on James May, go to: Instagram.com/jamesmayname.

Kinky Boots will play the Straz Center’s Morsani Hall, May 17-19. Performances are Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Regularly priced tickets are $38-$88 and may be purchased by calling 813.229.STAR (7827) or 800.955.1045 outside Tampa Bay, in person at the Straz Center Ticket Office or online at Strazcenter.org.

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