By Christopher Heide
Chosen Magazine recently had the opportunity to sit down with Ricky Schroeder, a cast member of the upcoming tour of Broadway sensation, Kinky Boots. Schroeder is a member of the Kinky Boots ensemble, making this production his biggest break yet. His previous body work includes an Off Broadway production of Naked Boys Singing and a regional production of Footloose.
In Kinky Boots, Charlie Price has reluctantly inherited his father’s shoe factory, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. Trying to live up to his father’s legacy and save his family business, Charlie finds inspiration in the form of Lola.
A fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos, Lola turns out to be the one person who can help Charlie become the man he’s meant to be. As they work to turn the factory around, this unlikely pair finds that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible… and discovers that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world.
CM: What makes Kinky Boots feel different from other shows?
RS: Kinky Boots means something. It affects people in an emotional place. Other shows provide good entertainment, but I feel that Kinky Boots really touches people in ways they don’t expect. In fact, the finale leaves most people crying. As a performer, the show hits me on a personal level unlike any other show ever has before.
CM: Do you have a favorite scene or song in the show?
RS: Honestly, the finale is my favorite part of the show. I love to see all of the criers in the audience! The lyrics of the finale are just so empowering. The final song of the show is called "Raise You Up/Just Be". It talks about how you can change the world if you just change your mind. I think it’s a theme that can resonate with a lot of people and is very topical.
CM: Were you a fan of Cyndi Lauper before Kinky Boots?
RS: Of course! Who wouldn't be? She’s an icon! It was one of my dreams to be able to meet and work with her. I’m probably more of a fan now than I was before. The fact that she was able to win so many awards for her first Broadway musicals is just unheard of.
CM: What is an interesting moment you've had while working on the show?
RS: There was one time where the Angels are supposed to enter at the top of the staircase but for some reason the door wouldn't open so we had to had to surprise the factory workers by entering behind our gate onstage. Everyone went with it and it was great. Also, just this week Lindsay who plays Lauren hurt her ankle during the show so she wasn't able to do the treadmill choreography so she made a sneak exit right before and her understudy did her physical track and our swing jumped into costume and filled the empty spot and it went perfectly.
CM: What is something most audience members don’t know about Kinky Boots?
RS: I think a lot of people don’t realize that Kinky Boots is actually based on a true story. It’s not just a show about drag queens. It’s a story about real people fighting for their jobs. It’s something that everyone can relate to.
CM: What do you hope people will take away from the show? Do you hope it will alter people’s feelings about the LGBT community?
RS: I hope that people who come into the show with a predetermined bias about the world will leave the show with their minds changed. I hope they will have a new appreciation for their fellow man and a little more acceptance than walking in.