BWW Interviews: Lindsay Nicole Chambers Talks KINKY BOOTS
Houston, have you got your tickets to the Theatre Under the Stars production that everyone has been talking about? KINKY BOOTS is only in town for one more week, and tickets are going fast! Playing Lauren, the lovable girl with a history of wrong guys, Lindsay Nicole Chambers reached out to BWW Houston to talk about the tour and to give us a few reasons why Houston audiences don't want to miss KINKY BOOTS!
BWW: I'm going to start with a question that you've probably been asked a lot. When did you know that you wanted to make a career in the performing arts?
Lindsay Nicole Chambers: Oh gosh, I didn't actually know that it was a thing that you could do until I was halfway through high school. I had been in shows, done choir, and had been in gymnastics since I was like a toddler. I just didn't think of it as a career. I guess I wasn't thinking of any career, so I wasn't like, "I'll be an actor." Eventually in high school a teacher talked to me and said, "Are you considering going to school for this?" I was like, "Yeah, that would be freaking great! That would be the best job ever." My dad was like, "No way. You are not doing that. You're not going to school for musical theater." He was like, "You're going to go to school for something that will make you money, that way you can do musical theater if you want to." But, he saw me do the play SYLVIA. Sarah Jessica Parker originated that part, she played the dog. After he saw me in that show, he was like, "You know, I changed my mind. I'll help you pay for school." It was then that I was really like, "Okay, I'm going for this."
I hate to say that I've been lucky, but a lot of it has been luck. I worked so, so, so hard to get all of my skills in check. I kind of hit the pavement in New York for a year when I was out of school. I waited tables and did temp work, and within that year I booked HAIRSPRAY on the road. So, I guess it was a good sign that I was on the right path. [Laughs]I booked the first national tour of HAIRSPRAY, so I felt pretty confident after that. I also felt not confident after that and then confident again because you work and then you don't work, and then you're like, "Oh God, I'm never going to work again." It's terrifying, but then you do work again and it's great. [Laughs] That's how the whole career is, I think. You're always hustling.
BWW: You've played some really great roles. You were in HAIRSPRAY, LYSISTRATA JONES, and of course TRIASSIC PARQ.
Lindsay Nicole Chambers: TRIASSIC PARQ was such a great experience. Marshall Pailet, and the other writers that helped write the show, they were all so smart and so funny. Also, because we were all the same age it was so collaborative. I guess I haven't originated many parts yet, but it's so fun when you get to have that back and forth. Even if it is a lady dinosaur that grew a penis, it's super exciting. [Laughs]
BWW: It's easily one of my favorite shows. Okay, I'll stop taking up all of your time talking about Triassic Parq.
Lindsay Nicole Chambers: I like it. [Laughs]
BWW: I like it too! The take home message is that you've had some really great roles. I would, of course, be remiss to mention Gail Liner in Submissions Only.
Lindsay Nicole Chambers: That's been one of the surprisingly biggest things in my career so far. It's funny because of what started out as Kate Wetherhead being like, "Hey, we did LEGALLY BLONDE together. Do you want to be in this part? We're making a web series. We have a funny, little part and we'd love for you to do it." I was like, "Yeah. That's d be fun. I don't have a job, so that'd be great." [Laughs] It was great, and then it exploded into this crazy, beloved experience that people had. I love that. Everywhere that I've been on the road so far, more than half of the people I meet at the stage door are like, "Oh my God, you're in Submissions Only." That's like the first thing that people say to me.
BWW: Out of all of the roles that you've played, do you have a favorite?
Lindsay Nicole Chambers: That's a really hard question. I feel like I have favorites in different ways. Like Lauren in KINKY BOOTS is such a great, great, great part. She's so like me. She's a little weird, and she puts one foot in front of the other and says what she means. She's maybe a little brash and ballsy, but she is still lovable and nice. So, that's been fun because it's just been easy. That sounds so terrible, but I mean easy like it has been an easy fit. It has been so easy to get along with this cast. They become friends and family. It's just been such a great experience.
Then, in roles like TRIASSIC PARQ, you get to pretend to be a dinosaur. You get to pretend to be a dinosaur who grows a penis and then is exiled. I had a rap song! I mean, what is that? There will never be a role like that again. I will never get an experience like that again. It was so much fun. It was the most out-of-the-box thing, that I have ever had the pleasure of doing. Robin in LYSISTRATA JONES was so fun because it was very connected. I got to work with a lot of great people, some that I hadn't worked with in a long time. The role was really great. I guess I have just gotten lucky enough to play a lot of great weirdos. I'm like, "Keep them coming!" It's been really fun. All I want to do is play weirdos, I guess. Maybe. [Laughs]
BWW: So, you mentioned that your role in KINKY BOOTS feels like a natural fit. What has been the most difficult part preparing for the role of Lauren?
Lindsay Nicole Chambers: Well, learning the role was hard, well not hard, but learning what worked. It was interesting learning that song because there were so many drops in it and they already found what worked. So, it was an interesting balance doing what they had set and then infusing my own comedy into it. That took a little thinking about, to find out how to make it funny for me. To find out what the audiences would react to. Also, the audience is different in every city. It's been really wild.
I guess the other thing that is kind of hard is just being on the road. I'm married, I have a step-daughter, and we have cats. I'm not at my house all the time, so I'm missing out on home life. But, I'm lucky enough that my husband is a musician, and he travels all of the time so he is able to come see me all of the time. But, there hasn't really been anything hard with the show. The show has been so fun, rewarding, and so inspiring. It's been a treat, really.
BWW: KINKY BOOTS really does spread the message of self-acceptance and the acceptance of others far and wide. How does it feel sharing that message every night?
Lindsay Nicole Chambers: It's amazing. We had opening night parties, this happened right out of the gate, and men would come up to us with their wives saying, "She totally dragged me here. I did not want to come to this show. But, it was of the best things I've ever seen. I am so glad I came tonight. This is one of my favorite shows ever. It will be hard to beat this show." I mean it really is sort of defying the some people's expectations. It's been very cool. We've hit some really conservative places so far, and you can tell when some of the audience members are not quite as won over as other members of the audience. But, everybody ends up leaving thinking that it was a good time, even if they didn't sort of assimilate the message. It seems like everyone has a lot of fun with the show, which is good. It's a lot of fun.
BWW: So, this is your chance to sell it. Why should Houston audiences be excited to see KINKY BOOTS?
Lindsay Nicole Chambers: There's so much. The music was written by Cyndi Lauper. You would come to that show anyway. [Laughs] If nothing else, just knowing that there was Cyndi Lauper music would motivate you to come to that show. The story is so good, and to have the adaptation of that story into a musical by Harvey Fierstein is so good. It's just a fun evening that sort of sneaks in a message. It's like glitzy and glamour, but it's also really inspiring. I think it really makes people look at themselves and look at how they are looking at the world. It does this without bashing them over the head with it.
BWW: Great! I only have one question left. What advice would you give to someone who wants to make a profession in the performing arts?
Lindsay Nicole Chambers: My advice would be to keep working as hard as you can all of the time. Know that it takes luck, but luck also means being as prepared as you can possibly be, knowing exactly what you want, and going for it. Doing all of those things sort of opens the door for luck to come in. Also, it's easy to self-doubt. You just have to keep plugging and know that there are going to be rough times. Believe me, there will be amazing times too, like being in KINKY BOOTS,
Make sure to catch Kinky Boots before the stilettos march out of town! Kinky Boots is currently running until February 22, 2015 in the Sarofim Hall at The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. For more information about the show, or to book your tickets to Kinky Boots please visit http://www.tuts.com.
Also, for information about seeing KINKY BOOTS during its other tour stops or even at the Al Hirschfield Theatre on Broadway, please visit http://kinkybootsthemusical.com.
Production photos by Matthew Murphy. Photos courtesy Theatre Under the Stars.
From This Author Kristina Nungaray