THEIR FAVORITE THINGS: Kinky Boots Tony Nominee Stark Sands Shares His Theatregoing Experiences

By Andrew Gans
September 11, 2013's new feature series, Their Favorite Things, asks members of the theatre community to share the Broadway performances that most affected them as part of the audience.

This week we spotlight the choices of two-time Tony Award nominee Stark Sands, who is currently co-starring in the Tony-winning Best Musical Kinky Boots at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre.

(Clicking on a name bolded in blue will take readers to that actor or show's entry in the Playbill Vault.)


Starlight Express

"Laugh if you want, but when you're a nine-year old who's obsessed with Transformers and your first Broadway show is about anthropomorphized trains roller-skating, full-speed all over the theatre, it's pretty awesome."



Boyd Gaines in Journey's End


"One of the best we've got, folks. Period. I'm so honored to have cut my Broadway teeth in this play with him. He's the most generous actor I'll probably ever work with, and so humble that you'd never know he is the winningest male performer in the history of the Tony Awards."


August: Osage County - End of Act II


"It's the only play I've ever attended that had such an immediate, out-of-nowhere visceral screaming response from the audience that wasn't at the end of the play. When Amy Morton roared out, 'I'M, RUNNING, THINGS, NOW!!!' and it cut to an immediate blackout, the entire place lit up with a human electricity that gives me goosebumps just typing about it. Unforgettable."


Nina Arianda and Hugh Dancy in Venus In Fur


"These two just blew me away. In a two-hander like this you have to be totally in sync with your partner to make it work, and they made it look effortless. Brilliant performances, both."



Hair - Finale


"It sounds weird, since I'm in this business and have had hundreds of finales and curtain calls (at this very same theatre, no less), but being pulled onstage at the Hirschfeld for 'Let The Sun Shine' with a few hundred regular folks was the most electric, exciting finale I've ever experienced. Being in a sea of people who are freaking out at that level is completely infectious. It was magic." 



James Corden in One Man, Two Guvnors


"What a performance. He had me eating out of his hand, and getting fooled by the 'audience participation' bits was so impressive to realize in hindsight. Just masterful."


Michael Cumpsty in Twelfth Night


"Michael played Malvolio, and each night during his Act II, Scene five M-O-A-I monologue, a group of us younger actors would clump together to watch him from the wings. He's just an unbelievable actor. It was a master class every night."


Billy Porter in Kinky Boots


"Hard to put into words, really. It's a true joy to share this show with him, and to witness his performance from the best seat in the house every night. There's a part of me that's bummed I'll never get to see what we've built from the audience."

Next To Normal - Act II, When Dan finally sees Gabe


"This just killed me. I am admittedly easily affected by father/son stuff, but when the father (Brian d'Arcy James) finally acknowledged the memory of his son (Kyle Dean Massey), looked at him and said, '...Gabriel?' I just openly wept from the front row of the mezzanine. I was a total mess."



War Horse in London


"Saw this before the Broadway transfer, before the buzz reached our shores, and my God, what an experience. I had just finished Journey's End, which is also about WWI, so I had a natural connection to the world of the play. It was pure magic to watch the horses be manipulated, especially because after five minutes you simply stopped seeing the puppeteers at all. I especially rate the London production for keeping the French and German dialogue in actual French and German (and not accented English like the Broadway transfer). It was completely immersive to witness two characters (the little French girl and the German soldier) forced to find ways to communicate without understanding each other's language."