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J. Harrison Ghee in the National Tour of Kinky Boots. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Q+A with Kinky Boots cast member Sam Rohloff

By Apartment613 on December 20, 2016

Post by Lisa Xu

The smash-hit musical Kinky Boots will be making its way to Ottawa’s National Arts Centre from December 27th to January 1st. Since its debut, Kinky Boots has gained international recognition, with productions playing worldwide. This musical’s success can be attributed to the book written by Harvey Fierstein, an award-winning score produced by Cyndi Lauper and fabulous visual designs courtesy of a Tony Award-winning creative team.

Inspired by true events, the story follows Charlie Price, a businessman who must forfeit his dreams of living in London in order to save his father’s shoe factory business in Northampton. After inheriting the bankrupt factory, he meets Lola, an entertainer in need of some new stilettos. An unlikely partnership beings to form, and both of their worlds are changed when they discover just how much they have in common.

Apt613 had the privilege of conducting an email interview with cast member Sam Rohloff, who will be playing the role of one of the Angels, a group of drag performers. Since graduating with a BFA in Musical Theatre from Oakland University, Rohloff performed in other musicals such as West Side Story, Spring Awakening and  South Pacific. Some of the interview answers have been paraphrased in this paragraph to reduce the length.

Apt613:  What do you like and dislike about the character you’re playing?

SR: There’s hardly anything that I dislike about the character I’m playing but the makeup can be difficult some days (Yes, each Angel does their own makeup). However, I get to play dress up, completely transform, and get to dance as a stunning woman every day, so needless to say I’m having tons of fun when I go to work.

What are some highlight from your career thus far? What are some challenges you’ve faced?

I would definitely say working on Kinky Boots is one of my biggest highlights of my career thus far! I’m a firm believer of always taking the next step in the right direction, going forward, not back when it comes to the next opportunity. I feel like so far so good!

I think one of the biggest challenges in this specific career would be the consistency of work. You could have a great job performing for a year and the next maybe be working in a restaurant. Hard work goes a long way, so when I know a show is ending, I immediately start looking for the next opportunity.

Is there something that you’ve learned while preparing for this production? What do you like about the musical?

I think specifically my experience as a replacement and being put into the show not knowing anyone, not getting the chance to rehearse with the cast prior to opening, was an overall learning one. I phased in nicely, it was just something I’d never been a part of, usually I’ve been with processes from start to finish.

I think Kinky Boots is so special. It’s a show that is funny, clever, and an all-around great time. Not to mention award-winning choreography, costume design, and music that will engulf the audience!

In your opinion, what is the main message or takeaway of Kinky Boots?

I think Kinky Boots is about acceptance. Accepting someone completely different than yourself, perhaps. One of the best lines in the show “Accept yourself and you’ll accept others too!” and another “You change the world, when you change your mind.”

In your opinion, why should someone come see the production? What can they expect?

I think anyone should come see Kinky Boots because not only is it a good, fun time, I can guarantee after seeing the show you will actively be thinking about someone or something in your life that might need changing. And even just sparking the thought of change or interest means us as actors/story-tellers has done their job. We are here to spark thought and conversation, and I believe Kinky Boots is the perfect show to do so.

Kinky Boots will be putting on a limited eight performances in the newly renovated National Arts Centre. Tickets can be bought online, via phone or in person.

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