CUE & A: Kinky Boots Tour Star Kyle Taylor Parker on His Worldly Upbringing, Pre-Show Rituals and Some Life-Changing Advice From Audra

News   CUE & A: Kinky Boots Tour Star Kyle Taylor Parker on His Worldly Upbringing, Pre-Show Rituals and Some Life-Changing Advice From Audra
 
Kyle Taylor Parker, who stars as Lola in the first national touring production of the Tony-winning musical Kinky Boots, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.

Kyle Taylor Parker
Kyle Taylor Parker

Parker was also a member of the Broadway company of Kinky Boots.

Other stage work includes the In the Heights national tour and Hair at Arizona Theatre Company.

Full given name: Kyle Taylor Parker
Where you were born/where you were raised: Tricky question. I always say "Wisconsin by way of the world" because my mom works in public health, which means I grew up in East Africa, West Africa, Paris, Zurich and Wisconsin.
Zodiac Sign: Taurus
What your parents did/do for a living: Mom is pretty much a super hero working to give people the tools they need to be healthy.
Siblings: I have an adorable little sister named Nia - she's first chair violin and awesome.
Current audition song/monologue: My last audition was for Lola in Kinky Boots and I pretty much sang the entire score and did all the scenes so… that!
Special skills: I speak French fluently.
Something you're REALLY bad at: Volleyball
First Broadway show you ever saw: Annie
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be? Dreamgirls
Current or recent show other than your own you have been recommending to friends: Everything, because I haven't had a chance to see much! But off the top of my head I'd say Beautiful and You Can't Take It With You.
Favorite showtune(s) of all time: "Cornet Man"
"Being Alive"
"The Oldest Profession"
"Buenos Aires"
"So You Wanted To Meet The Wizard"
Some favorite modern musicals: Next to Normal, Dogfight, Last Five Years, In The Heights
Some favorite classic musicals: Ain't Misbehavin', Gypsy, The King and I
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would have most loved to perform with: Ruby Dee, Judy Garland, Gregory Hines, Katharine Hepburn
Your personal vocal idols, living or dead:

Stevie Wonder, Judy Garland, Luther Vandross, Patti LuPone, Sarah Vaughan. And… Alysha Umphress!

The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: Audra McDonald in Porgy and Bess
Music that makes you cry, any genre: I'm a sap for anything with a good lyric. I once cried to "Part of Your World."
MAC or PC? MAC
Most played song on your iPod: "Just Do You" by India Arie
Most-visited websites: www.kinkynation.net, home of my video blog "Kinky Nation: Touring the Land With Lola." (brazen plug but I promise you'll love it!)
Favorite Tweeters: @laurabenanti
Last book you read: "Nothing Like a Dame: Great Conversations With the Great Women of Musical Theatre"
Must-see TV show(s): "Scandal"
"Game of Thrones"
"Iyanla: Fix My Life"
Last good movie you saw: "Get On Up"
Some films you consider classics: "The Lion In Winter"
"Singin' in the Rain"
"Guess Who's Coming To Dinner"
"You've Got Mail"
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Tamika Lawrence, currently in If/Then and one of my best friends. She is truly a force to be reckoned with!
Pop culture guilty pleasure: Rihanna
Three favorite cities: Barcelona, London, NYC
Favorite sport/team/player: Is Connect Four considered a sport?
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: Annie Broadway cast recording
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: After seeing my first Broadway show.
How you got your Equity card: Doing Hair at the Arizona Theatre Company, playing Hud
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: Post-show: Bocca Di Bocco on 45th and 9th - Fettuccine Alla Bolognese
Favorite liquid refreshment: Iced coffee
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: I do a top secret inspirational ritual that includes but is not limited to: Oprah mantras, lip trills and jumping jacks.
Most challenging role you have ever played: Lola!
Biggest challenge about this current project: Trying to act cool, calm and collected while the 12-year-old musical theatre geek inside of me freaks out with excitement at the realization that this is my life!
Most fulfilling or fun aspect about the project: Everything about it! If you can’t have fun doing Kinky Boots, something is wrong with you. There’s always something new to discover about Lola as an actor, and each discovery is a triumph! A very fulfilling triumph!
How do the road audiences compare/differ from Broadway?

The exciting thing about touring the show is that each city has a different sense of humor so the laughs are always in different places depending on what that is. The show remains the same but little gems in the text are uncovered, and in a way, rediscovered for the actors who are doing the show. So far the end result is always the same: love, joy, excitement and happy happy happy!

Are there any tour cities you are particularly looking forward to visiting? I am very excited about San Francisco (never been) and Los Angeles for the holidays!
If you could trade roles/tracks with anyone in the show for a week, who would it be? Don. It'd be fun to flex my "tough guy" muscles. I’d also love to watch Joe Coots dance around in heels for 2 1/2 hours.
Favorite Christmas or birthday gift you ever received: A quilt from my grandmother. It’s my treasure to this day.
Leading man role you've been dying to play: Bobby in Company
Leading lady role you've been dying to play: Celie in The Color Purple
Something about you that surprises people: I'm from Wisconsin.
Something you are incredibly proud of: I'm an actor.
Something you're embarrassed to admit: Ooo I dont know. It's probably so embarrassing I blocked it from my memory.
Career you would want if not a performer: Director. Teacher. Inspir(er)
Three things you can't live without: Claritin, ginger tea, a good book
"I'll never understand why…” … the blue line is so unpredictable (in this day and age)
Words of advice for aspiring performers: When I first moved to the city, I was lucky enough to meet Audra McDonald after a performance, and I asked her this very question.

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She said, "Be yourself. Be your damn self!" Today I pass it on. BE. YOU. And make the most of it!

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