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BWW Interview: Ashley North of KINKY BOOTS at Saenger Theatre

BWW Interview: Ashley North of KINKY BOOTS at Saenger Theatre

Coming soon to the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans is KINKY BOOTS, the smash-hit musical that brings four-time Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein and Grammy Award-winning rock icon Cyndi Lauper (Tony Award-winner for Best Score for KINKY BOOTS) together in a musical full of heart as well as dazzle. The show runs June 14-16.

The winner of six 2013 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, KINKY BOOTS features a Tony Award-winning score by Lauper, a book by Fierstein, and direction and choreography by Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell. KINKY BOOTS tells the uplifting and heartwarming tale of Charlie Price, a young man reluctantly taking over his family's struggling shoe factory and looking for a fresh idea. Charlie meets and finds inspiration in Lola, and together, they discover that it takes a good friend to make a great pair.

BroadwayWorld.com had the chance to interview Ashley North from the cast to talk shop about the show and her role as Nicola!

BroadwayWorld.com: Let's start with a quick bio.

North: So, I've been doing theatre since I was nine years old. I went to school at UC Irvine, got my degree in musical theatre there, and basically started working. After that, I've worked for Hong Kong Disneyland. I originated a one-woman show there. And then I stayed aboard the Royal Caribbean for a while, and now I find myself on this tour, and I'm loving it. It's my national tour debut.

BroadwayWorld.com: Tell me about your role of Nicola in the show.

North: Nicola often gets a bad rap. I think she is seen as the villain because she is the antagonist in a lot of ways, but I just don't see her as a villain. I think that she has a lot of heart, and she's just a woman who knows what she wants, and she's found herself in a relationship with somebody who is still kind of searching for what he wants, and it's these two people that don't necessarily see eye-to-eye, but she's got a good heart. I think that she just wants this life that she's always dreamed of... She's just the girl across the street like me, you know?

BroadwayWorld.com: Do you remember the first time you saw KINKY BOOTS?

North: Yea, it was a few years back actually. It's a funny story. I saw it with my friend Sophie, and I never talk in theatres, I'm a very good audience member, but when the girl playing Nicola, Cortney Wolfson, when she walked on stage, I turned to my friend and said, "That's me, that's the role I play!" And here we are!

BroadwayWorld.com: What do you think makes KINKY BOOTS a show that audiences truly embrace?

North: The thing about KINKY BOOTS is that there are many characters who are just meant to be normal people...I remember watching an interview with Jerry Mitchell where he spoke about the casting process for the original cast of KINKY BOOTS and how the original reception for this project was, "Where did you find these people? Where did you find these factory workers? They just seem like people from off of the streets. Have they ever acted before?" You know so from that sense, factory workers whom one day see the show they can then see themselves up there as well...But you can see all different kinds of people. It's just hard not to relate [to someone] there are so many different people of all shapes, sizes, and colors in this show.

BroadwayWorld.com: Do you have a favorite number in the show?

North: Yea, I love "Everybody Say Yea." Actually, I do the scene right before that number, and I'm not featured in that number so I'll stand off stage and sing it with them sometimes. It's such a fun number.

BroadwayWorld.com: What's been one of your favorite moments of being a part of this cast?

North: I think again like I was saying there's just so many different kinds of people in our cast. I think with most shows that you do as an actor, you just get to meet a whole New Group of people who just kind of become your family. There's even a line in the show "It's not just a factory, this is my family," that Charlie sings at the beginning of the show. Almost every time I hear that I think "Yea, that's what this is, you know, we're a family"... We've seen the world together and have done a lot together. It's really special.

BroadwayWorld.com: What would say about KINKY BOOTS for those who have never heard of the show?

North: First of all, don't let the title throw you. KINKY BOOTS is a family-friendly show. It will make you laugh; it will make you cry, you will be singing, you will be dancing, you will have a good time. You can't leave the theatre without a big smile on your face.

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From This Author Tara Bennett