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BWW Interview: Darius Harper of KINKY BOOTS at The Fulton Theatre

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BWW Interview: Darius Harper of KINKY BOOTS at The Fulton TheatreInterview by Jason Davis

Based on the 2005 film by the same name, the musical "Kinky Boots" tells the story of an unlikely partnership between a failing shoe manufacturer (Charlie) and a fabulous cabaret entertainer (Lola). Although they come from very different worlds, the two realize that they are not so different after all. Playing the challenging role of Lola is New Hampshire native Darius Harper. Working both nationally and internationally, Harper brings years of experience and talent to the Fulton stage.

BWW: You are reprising your role as Lola in the hit Broadway musical "Kinky Boots". What draws you to this role?

Harper: As a queer artist of color, Kinky Boots has been the first instance where I could stand in a room and JUST BE me. Lola has been a part of my life for the better part of 6 years now and has seen me through many peaks and valleys in my life, and every time we meet I found I've grown because of her. Aside from the musical bops, and stunning costumery, her humanity and the opportunity to share that with audiences is a true honor.

BWW: With high energy numbers, powerful vocals, emotional themes, and platform shoes, this role can be very challenging. What have you found to be the most difficult aspect of this part?

Harper: Emotional stamina is a real thing and this role is a testament to that. My favorite part about her is that she FEELS everything so deeply. Joy, sorrow, triumph and devastation. It's not easy to embody these emotions fully 8 times a week, but self-care and relying on my acting training really comes into play.

BWW: Kinky Boots has seen worldwide success and recognition. What do you accredit this success to?

Harper: Kinky Boots is not a show about sexuality. Kinky Boots is not a show about gender. Kinky Boots is a show about the expectations of self and others, and living up to those absolutes we place on things. It's also about accepting ourselves and where we are in life's journey, and in turn others on their path. Self-love and acceptance starts at a young age, and we all have parents, whether they be with us or not. Everyone can relate to striving to be the best you for someone else (ie a parent) and Harvey Fierstein flushed out some very real people trying to do just that. No matter the color of Your skin, or who you love We're all just trying to do our best.

BWW: Do you have a favorite musical number or significant moment in the show?

Harper: Cyndi Lauper's score is a complete BOP and full of fan favorites! Honestly I love all of the themes from the disco, to the folk, to the gospel! I'm always surprised at how well the tender "Not My Fathers Son" is received. It's amazing that in a bold and brassy show the pathos is something that people leave remembering. There are some pretty meaty father-son themes which hit very close to home for me, and I often find myself choking back tears! Another touching moment comes in flashback form where younger versions of Charlie and Lola (and Lauren!!) come to life on the Fulton Stage and I guarantee there will be no dry eye in the house!

BWW: The city of Lancaster is an up-and-coming foodie community with a growing arts scene. What are your thoughts on working and staying in Lancaster, PA?

Harper: I absolutely love Lancaster! As a New England native it has a very homey feel to me, Not to mention a pretty fair hustle and bustle! Never have I felt more welcomed in a theatre, period. From the moment I stepped into the audition, Marc Robin provided support and instilled a sense of trust in me that I will always be thankful for. Whether he knows it or not, he's saving lives here. Theatre saves lives.

BWW: Given this opportunity to share your thoughts with your audience, what else would you like the Fulton patrons to know about you or the show?
(Perhaps a talented co-star, any stand out/ creative set design, directing, or choreography work)

Harper: A wise friend once told me that "Broadway is not only a destination but a feeling" and baby, Fulton Theatre has me in my FEELS! From the stunning costume and hair design, to the towering sets, to the theatre for young audiences and community outreach to the stunning cast and creative team I'm rendered speechless on a daily basis. If you haven't already come down to the Fulton Theatre and catch Kinky Boots, this is a show not to miss!

Darius Harper (Kinky Boots - Lola, Simon) A New Hampshire native, he attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in 2004. Following a stint at Tokyo Disney he would go on to join the union in 2009 with the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. Credits include: The Book of Mormon (Chicago), Priscilla Queen of the Desert (Miss Understanding), After Midnight (Host), and the Kinky Boots National Tour (Lola). Most recently he originated and starred Cirque du Soleil' Volta (singer/emcee). Many thanks to my HAA fam! @dariusharius



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