BWW Interview: Matt Henry Discusses KINKY BOOTS Coming to UK and Irish Cinemas
Matt Henry MBE won the 2016 Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Lola in Kinky Boots - which also won the Olivier for Best Musical in the same year.
The show ran for over 1,400 performances at the Adelphi Theatre, and a special recording will soon be shown in UK and Irish cinemas on 4 and 9 February. Matt recently spoke to BroadwayWorld about returning to the show.
Who inspired you the most growing up?
I would have to say my mother. I learned a lot from her whilst growing up.
Was there a particular moment when you decided you wanted to be a performer?
I remember the moment I first sang in the children's choir at Sunday school. The feeling it gave me was like nothing I'd ever felt before: the freedom to truly express yourself through music and singing.
How did you find returning to Kinky Boots for the cinema broadcast taping?
Returning to Kinky Boots was like putting back on your favourite pair of comfortable footwear. It was so nice to revisit a character that had been a huge part of my life for two years, and to do it alongside Killian Donnelly made it even more worthwhile.
Do you have a favourite moment or number in the show?
The song "Not My Father's Son" is such a beautiful moment of stillness in the show. Every night I performed it, you could hear a pin drop.
What excites you most about the show coming to the big screen?
I love that family, friends and all those people who were not able to make it to London or to see the show on tour can still get to see and experience the magic of Lola!
Drag culture is firmly in the mainstream now. What role do you think Kinky Boots played in breaking down stereotypes associated with the art form?
Personally, I think it was the message that Kinky Boots portrayed of acceptance, love and pride that really broke down walls. It encourages audience members to be who they want to be and that they can change the world if they change their mind.
Did your theatre background help prepare you for your experience on The Voice? Or vice versa - what did that experience teach you?
I think my theatre training played a huge part in helping me to perform on national television. It gave me the confidence and ability to know how to engage an audience.
Do you prefer playing yourself in a concert setting or playing a character on stage?
I enjoy both, but I find it easier playing myself when I'm singing my own music.
Any advice for aspiring performers?
Surround yourself with a great support unit, because the industry can be a roller coaster of ups and downs. Having someone you can talk to really helps.
Are there any other projects you're working on that you can tell us about?
I'm about to start a play by Jonathan Harvey called Our Lady of Blundellsands at the Liverpool Everyman.
Out of Simba, Lola and Gary, who would you go on a road trip with and where would you go?
Lola would be my first choice. We'd hit every Mardi Gras in every big city, spreading our message of love and acceptance.
Why should people come to see Kinky Boots in cinemas?
Because you get to relive a great British story with a big heart and even bigger boots. It has something for everyone, and they've done such a great job of capturing the magic of this wonderful show.
Kinky Boots in UK and Irish cinemas from 4 February
Photography credit: Matt Crockett