ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Getting Kinky With Stark Sands; Anything Goes for Rachel York

By Seth Rudetsky
28 May 2013

Stark Sands
Photo by Robb Johnston

Anyhoo, before that happened, I had Stark Sands from Kinky Boots on my Chatterbox and, it sounds corny, but he's a delight! First, I asked him about his name. Essentially, what's up with it? Or, as the kids say, what up? Turns out, he's a (fraternal) twin and since he looks more like his mom and she wanted to use her maiden name for one of her kids, he got it. Dare I name our next child Rudetsky? Does it sound Waspy like Stark? Get back to me. Stark actually went to school with another oddly-first-named Tony nominee from this year: Charl Brown. Turns out, his story is, his dad was named Charles and there was already a son from a previous marriage named Charles. They decided to name him after his dad but differentiate him by ixnaying the last two letters of "Charles." Dare I name our next child Rudets? Any better? silence.

Stark made his film debut in "Die Mommy Die" written by and starring the great Charles Busch. Stark said it was a fantastic way to begin because Charles was so helpful and gracious. He also gave Stark a list of all the old films he had to watch to understand the style of "Die Mommy Die." Watch this clip with the two of them. I love how Charles does his "trip," as he calls it. The hilarious vowel change in "I toured (toooored) with a band" and the complete voice change on "…and fully acquainted with its dangers." Watch it here! 

Sands and Seth's boot
photo by Robb Johnston

Stark loved starting out with that film, but did not like doing a film with Peter Weller, who was a so-called method actor. Since Peter was supposed to dislike Stark's character in the film, he disliked him on the set as well. That's fun. To be disliked on and off the set. At one point, they were all given their director-style chairs to sit in during filming. When Peter saw that his said "Peter Weller," he had a cursing fit. "Who the $%^* is Peter Weller!?!" he yelled since he, as a method actor, was not Peter Weller. He was his character at all times. Although, why would his character have a director's chair on a set in the first place? Was his character making a film? I guess I don't understand the method. I'll have to do a Ouija session with Marlon Brando. Anyhoo, even though Stark was doing film and TV, he really wanted to do theatre. Luckily, casting director Jay Binder saw him in a film where he played a soldier. He asked him if he'd fly to New York to audition for a play.



Stark auditioned and was told that was great, but they were getting pressure to find a name actor. If they couldn't get on, the role was his. Luckily, they couldn't get one and Stark was cast in Journey's End which led to his first Tony nomination! Stark didn't expect to get one for Kinky Boots but watched the nominations because he wanted to see how many the show received. He really wanted his co-star Billy Porter to get a nomination and was thrilled when he heard Billy's name called. Billy was the fourth nominee and there was only more slot for a Best Actor nominee after Billy's name was called…and it went to Stark! He's super happy he was nominated but told the audience that he wants everyone to vote for Billy. Very sweet! At the end of the show he sang his 11 o'clock number from Kinky Boots and sounded so great. You can watch the whole thing on SethTV.com so get thee!

 Continued...