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Interview: Stephane Duret of KINKY BOOTS at Fulton Theatre

Now on stage at The Fulton.

Interview: Stephane Duret of KINKY BOOTS at Fulton Theatre Stephane Duret is finally back on stage! The return of Kinky Boots to Lancaster's Fulton Theatre provided this seasoned actor with an opportunity to bring to life a favorite role.

BWW: Can you tell our readers a little about your background in the theater?

Duret: I am from Miami, Florida origionally and went to a performing arts high school. That's where I started my journey with musical theater. I then went to The Theater Conservatory of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. I ended up getting a BFA in Musical Theater. I lived in Chicago for another four years, working professionally at Drury Lane Oakbrook before moving to New York in 2011. I did some international shows and ultimately, I ended up doing Kinky Boots on Broadway. I was a swing for the factory workers and Ms. Lola herself for two and a half years. I'm guessing I performed the role (of Lola) eighty times on Broadway.

BWW: The role of Lola is very challenging. With its choreography, costuming, vocals, and emotional themes, why did you choose this role?

Duret: I think as a gay black man, coming up the way that I came up and being different, I identify a lot with Lola. Not just in the difficulties of being accepted at home, but also how do you overcome that? And how do you become the stronger person?

There's a beautiful song called Not My Father's Son, where there's a lyric "with the strength of Sparta and the patience of Job" ...And the way that I see it is that at first it's, this is what my father expected of me and I could never do it. Then it transitioned to; I do have the strength of Sparta and I do have the patience of Job, but yet I'm still not enough because I'm not this archetype. So, having to really transition through all of those emotional states and getting yourself to where you need to be to feel whole. I identify a lot with that process. It's like putting on a very familiar sweater.

My father and I, when I came out of the closet, it was a bit of a sorted past. He's now my number one supporter. Every single time I speak to him before we get off the phone, he says, don't forget your craft. He's become one of my best friends, but there were definitely some growing pains. We had to really reestablish how we operated with one another. I think the moment that shifted for him was when he realized that I was actually the man he raised me to be. So, unlike in the show where I [Lola] do have the strength of Sparta and the patience of Job and my father doesn't recognize that, in real life, my father does recognize it.



BWW: What have you found to be the most difficult aspect of this part?

Duret: I would probably say it's the prep work. I actually start my process, the physical and vocal prep work, two hours before the curtain. Historically, Lola doesn't dance as much as I do in this production here at the Fulton. I do a lot of kicking and it's great fun.

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

Duret: I think it's really to the writing and to the message of the story. I've been a part of this show for quite a while now. At the end of every single performance, the entire audience is on their feet. I think it's infectious. I think Cyndi Lauper's score is all earworms and you leave singing the songs. I think the writing is clever and poignant. I think it's really touching and I think there's a lot of identification in this piece. There are lots of characters that people can see themselves in. People feel seen. People feel heard. At the end of the show, we're talking about acceptance, acceptance of self and acceptance of others. All of that, put in a high heel boot, you got a good thing going.

BWW: This show revolves around the relationship between your character [Lola] and the character of Charlie. How was it working together?

Duret: Matt [Matt Farcher] is wonderful. We kind of hit it off very quickly, which is a gift. He is just a very generous human being and actor. I think we both love to play a lot. So we're constantly discovering and presenting gems to one another just to play. We both feel very safe with each other.

There's this really fun scene right before "The Sex is in the Heel", which is great fun to play with. Charlie thinks he's done this great thing. Lola breaks him down, saying, "this is terrible". That scene is great fun to play just back and forth. I also get to play with the audience at that point.

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

Duret: One of my favorites is "The Land of Lola reprise". There are these little vignettes that happen where Lola's performing at the club while Charlie is firing all of the factory workers. They're beautifully interwoven. I break the 4th wall and start talking to people in the front row and it's hilarious and fun.

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?

Duret: I'm really enjoying it. The food is fantastic and the people are great. It's been really fun to be here.

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?

Duret: It's a really great fun show. My cast mates are amazing. The crew is unbelievable. I think the set is really great as well. The lighting is fantastic. The costumes are great.

So it is a very exciting piece and I hope more and more people come see it.




From This Author - Jason Davis


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