What’s in Killian Donnelly’s Book? The Songs That Booked the Kinky Boots Star Jobs

What’s In Your Book?   What’s in Killian Donnelly’s Book? The Songs That Booked the Kinky Boots Star Jobs
 
Kinky Boots’ Charlie Price takes us through his audition repertoire.
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Before West End actor Killian Donnelly was cast as Charlie Price in the London production of Kinky Boots, receiving an Olivier Award nomination for his performance, and transferred to the Broadway production at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, he was in the audition room. Here, he takes us through his book of songs, and reveals what material he uses and how he scored the job.

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Killian Donnelly, Kevin Costner, and Stephane Duret at Kinky Boots Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

What song did you sing to book this job?
Killian Donnelly: “Soul of a Man.” It’s Charlies big number in Act 2. Trouble was when I sang it in the auditions, it was usually early [in the morning], so I had to warm my voice up from early morning. The neighbors weren’t too happy.

What are two other go-to audition songs you sing?
“Go The Distance” from Hercules and “Pirelli’s Miracle Elixir” from Sweeney Todd. Both were my first go-to songs when I started auditioning. I constantly forgot the words to the latter. I should have learned another song.

What have you used at auditions when casting directors switch to an 8-bar cut?
I’ve never had this happen to me yet. I fear the day. “Pirelli’s” probably—less words to learn.

What do you use for auditions that ask you to not sing musical theatre songs?
“In the Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett. I love singing it, and I leave everything in that audition room—voiceless by the end.

Where do you look for inspiration? How do you keep your book fresh?
I just listen to classic soul and rock ‘n’ roll…and sing something that I think suits me.

Do you have a terrible audition story, or was there a song you used that you’d never use again?
My first audition for Les Misérables in London, I sang “Pirelli’s.” Forgot the words about three times—and there are a lot. It was my second song choice, thinking they wouldn’t ask for it. I was wrong. I sang alright and left thinking to myself, “That’s a no.” Got a callback and couldn’t believe it. I owe everything to that show.

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