Brendon Urie Proves His Theatre Cred Before Taking the Stage in Broadway’s Kinky Boots

Special Features   Brendon Urie Proves His Theatre Cred Before Taking the Stage in Broadway’s Kinky Boots While this may be his theatrical debut, The Panic! at the Disco frontman is a true musical theatre kid.

Panic! at the Disco frontman Brendon Urie makes his Broadway debut as shoe-empire-heir Charlie Price in Kinky Boots May 26. The singer-songwriter says he knew he had to be a part of the show from the moment he sat down in the Al Hirschfeld Theatre over a year ago. Though he’s never done a musical before, Urie has loved theatre from a very young age—a love that came from his mother, who introduced him to classic movie musicals like West Side Story. As part of Kinky Boots, Urie is thrilled to be part of a show about acceptance. “If I can, in any way, influence someone to accept someone for beging different—absolutely, let me be a part of that,” he says. Before he dons the iconic red thigh-highs, Urie spoke with Playbill about polishing boots, breaking scenes, and being “vocally naked.”

Congratulations on making your Broadway debut! What are you most excited about?
Brendon Urie: Excited is an understatement. I have been dreaming about this since I was a kid. I grew up loving musicals, worshipping musicals, wanting to be a part of that world. The Sound of Music is my favorite musical of all time. It’s something that was celebrated in my family. My mom had all of these VHS tapes of musicals from Oklahoma! to West Side Story to Seven Brides for Seven Brothers… It was very prevalent in my childhood and I latched onto it. None of my other siblings really got into it, but it was always there and for whatever reason I just identified with it. I wanted to play those characters. The songs took on a different meaning when you’re coming from that persona. When they invited me to watch the show it was like, “I just got invited by some amazing people,” and then after the show when they asked me to be a part of it I said, “Whatever I can do. I’ll polish the boots! I’ll do whatever it takes. I would love to be a part of this, please.”

Has there been a moment that you’ve witnessed in a performance that’s really stuck with you?
The Sound of Music is one of my favorite movies. I fell in love with Julie Andrews at a very early age. I just thought she was amazing and gorgeous and her voice was phenomenal, but really besides other musical theatre and Broadway acts and plays, it was Disney.

While you’ve proven that you have serious skills when it comes to wearing heels, Charlie certainly hasn’t. How does it feel to take on the role and re-discover that awkwardness?
It’s amazing. That’s where I have a deeper appreciation for not just people wearing heels, but for the actor persona where I’ve got to play this character. There’s no way I can break. I have to [think], “I’m not comfortable with this, but ok, now I will be.” There’s a transition period. I love that. That’s part of what makes this beautiful. You have to challenge yourself with and I really hope that comes across.

Is there a moment that’s been challenging for you or that is your favorite?
Seeing [Taylor] and the way she plays is so funny. I’ve broken the scene a few times and I’m like, “I’m so sorry! I will be professional when [there’s an audience!” I’ve had to take a moment, but she’s phenomenal. I think that moment is one of my favorites because it takes a turning point.

What’s your favorite part about performing as a character in a musical that’s different from performing a concert?
There’s a lot that’s different, but besides the size of the venue, when Panic! plays a show I have fans to back me up if I’m having a bad night or something. They’ll pick it up if I’m lost. With this show, I’m naked vocally onstage. You have to support yourself. You’re out there and you need to dictate this message. It’s all you. I like that. It’s very challenging, but it’s so much fun. I can’t wait for my first show. I think afterwards that moment of reflection when I go home that night is going to be so beautiful.

Brendon Urie stars in Kinky Boots May 26 – August 6, 2017.

Joe Gambino is a writer, designer, performer and Broadway lottery loser who lives in New York. Follow him on Twitter @_joegambino_.

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