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BWW Interview: Theatre Life with Kolby Kindle

BWW Interview: Theatre Life with Kolby Kindle
Kolby Kindle. Photo by Ted Ely.

Today's subject Kolby Kindle is currently living his theatre life on the road in the ensemble of the national tour of the juggernaut hit The Book of Mormon. The show is now playing at the Kennedy Center through November 19th.

This is not Kolby's first time touring the country by any means. Previously, he toured with Sister Act (Curtis Jackson), Dreamgirls (Marty) and Disney's Beauty and the Beast (Cogsworth u/s).

Regional credits include productions at Music Theatre of Wichita, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma and Westchester Broadway Theatre.

In New York Kolby portrayed Martin Luther King Jr. in a workshop of the musical Martin for Negro Ensemble Company.

He holds a BFA from Otterbein University.

Life on the road can be lonely and exciting all at the same time. As you will read, Kolby loves every minute of it. Imagine being paid to see the country while bringing enjoyment to lots and lots of theatregoers.

Kolby Kindle is an extreme talent and one I highly recommend you go see in The Book of Mormon. The show is a hoot and for those who have seen it before, it's always worth another trip.

Ring a doorbell and say "Hello" I want tickets to The Book of Mormon please.

At what age did you know you were going to become a performer?

Funny, I get asked this question often, and I honestly can't put my finger on an exact age or moment. I remember being a very quiet and reserved kid. I was always fine playing by myself or just hanging with my family. My parents noticed that whenever I got on stage all of that went away. I was no longer that shy kid. I was comfortable, bold, and loved being in the spotlight. Whether it was singing at church or step-touching in the school play, I knew the stage was where I belonged. It was like a safe haven for me.

What was the one Broadway musical that most influenced you as a kid?

Without a doubt, Little Shop of Horrors. I know, I know, that's an odd show for a young kid to be influenced by, but it was my first professional theatrical experience. My dad bought me a ticket to see it at Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma (Hey, Lyric!) in 1999, and it blew me away. The music. The comedy. The TALENT. I knew I wanted to make people feel the way that show made me feel. So I asked my parents if I could attend theatre camp that year, and they enrolled me without hesitation. Thanks Mom and Dad!

BWW Interview: Theatre Life with Kolby Kindle
Kolby Kindle (third standing from right) and the company of The Book of Mormon. Photo by Joan Marcus.

The Book of Mormon tours pretty much all over the country. Do you have any favorite cities that you've played with this show?

This is hard, but I have two cities that I absolutely loved. The first is Toronto. It is the perfect big city because you feel like there's always something to do, but you never feel overwhelmed. Canadians are so awesome and kind, and they welcome you with open arms. Also, the Princess of Wales Theatre is gorgeous and intimate, and you feel like the audience is basically in your lap. I love it.

The second city that I went crazy for was Minneapolis. First of all, it was the home of Prince, so that made it very cool in my book. Also, the food was heavenly. I ate everything not nailed down. I really enjoyed the downtown area because there was so much to see and do. I love how much the city embraces that arts and the many different cultures that inhabit the city. I can't wait to go back.

You were part of a show called Martin in New York City where you played Martin Luther King Jr. What are your memories of putting that show together?

Martin still holds a special place in my heart. It was more of a staged reading, but it was my first time rehearsing and performing a show in New York City, so I felt like my dreams were coming true. It was with the NEC (Negro Ensemble Company), and I felt so honored to not only be performing with them, but to also be playing Martin Luther King Jr. I was so intimidated by the thought of taking on such a huge role with such a well renowned company. I also had the opportunity to meet and work with the composer, Charles Strouse, and playwright, Leslie Lee. It was an eye-opening and rewarding experience that I will never forget.

BWW Interview: Theatre Life with Kolby Kindle
L-R F. Tyler Burnet, Kolby Kindle, Nicholas Alexander Rodriquez and Lawrence Dandridge in the national tour of Sister Act. Photo by Joan Marcus.

When you tour I imagine there is a tendency to want to soak up every city you play. However, you are playing eight shows a week and have to be in good shape for that. How do you get that balance?

Fortunately, this is my 4th national/international tour, so I'm revisiting many cities and getting a second chance to see what I missed. On the other hand, I'm aware that work is my priority, so I learn to schedule things around rehearsals, shows, and gym time. During the weekdays, I have time before shows to get out to museums and markets and see what a city has to offer. I love history, so if a city has a historical monument, or unique artifacts I make an effort to pencil that into my schedule. It's all about balance. Eight shows a week is not easy, so I know to listen to my body and make sure I'm not sacrificing my health and energy for an outing in an awesome city.

Why do you think The Book of Mormon is so successful wherever it plays?

The Book of Mormon is one of a kind. In my opinion, there has never been anything like it in American musical theatre history. However, it has a way of paying homage to the traditional musical theatre format. It has the big, brassy musical numbers, the heartfelt ballads, and the exciting showstoppers, while on the other hand, it challenges you and makes you think. The genius writing of Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Robert Lopez is what makes this show stand out from the rest. It is nonstop fun and entertainment, but it's also bold and daring. I think that is the recipe for a successful musical comedy. Long story short, people love to laugh and have a good time, and The Book of Mormon does that and more.

Special thanks to Kennedy Center's theatre publicist Brendan Padgett for his assistance in coordinating this interview.

Theatre Life logo designed by Kevin Laughon.

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