Chicago Native Andrew Malone Leads in Broadway Show "Kinky Boots"

Andrew Malone

 
Actor Andrew Malone, who was born in Chicago and grew up in Markham, Illinois, is now gracing the stage in the Tony-award winning musical “Kinky Boots.” Malone is playing Simon Sr. and Lola, and is in the ensemble in the Broadway hit in Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre for a limited one-week run from Jan. 22-27.
The 32-year-old talked to the Chicago Defender about honing his craft, his progression in “Kinky Boots” and the message of the play that everyone should come out and see.
Malone grew up in a Markham neighborhood where at the time his family was one of the first families to move into the neighborhood. Not only did he have his family, but the community also became a close-knit unit for him; it also helped fuel his passion for acting at an early age.
“I grew up in a huge tribe and a big household, and I went to school in the area (Dr. Ralph Bunche School) where I had my first role in my first play in kindergarten as the star in “The Gingerbread Man” so I continued to participate in all of the arts program afterward. The opportunities provided through the school gave me much enthusiasm, and that’s where I got my first start, including church performances (Greater Gethsemane Church of God in Christ) so those platforms gave me a chance to spread my wings.“
Malone graduated from Thornwood High School (he said he “reps T birds all day”) where he was also in the performing arts program. He performed his first professional show the day after high school prom at the ETA Chicago Creative Arts Center. From there he went to Columbia College Chicago where he majored in Musical Theatre.
In the production, Malone is getting a broad spectrum of experience. He plays the role of Simon Sr., whom he describes as a tower of strength and anger, and he is the understudy of the character Lola, who is the son of Simon Sr.
Simon Sr. denounces his son’s choice (character Lola) who goes into drag. Lola, on the opposite hand, is a fabulous drag queen in need of some sturdy stiletto boots.
“It’s been such an honor,” Malone said about his roles. “I’m so excited because I’ve been telling the story for two and a half years now and it still is just as exhilarating as when I Iearned the audition material.”
“Kinky Boots” touts a profound message: acceptance, love. It reminds us to accept people for who they are and not what they are. Throughout Andrew’s experience in “Kinky Boots,” he discovered through his physical, vocal and psychological techniques great things about playing two different characters.
“There have been times when I had to play both roles and what is great is that I was able to find the heart and stubbornness in both characters. I’m coming from a background where I experienced the same thing. It’s not so much that we get confused. I’m learning through the show that sometimes we put the word bigotry or put a phobia behind anything and everything to explain why someone might not understand or dislike something. I also understand by playing the father that because the way society is set up, he was against his son dressing in drag and being out with it because of his protection.”
Another message that’s conveyed in “Kinky Boots” is how to work together as a team. You might even wonder if it’s possible to work closely with someone different from you. Not only is it possible, but it can also be a bit of fun. Combining two principles into a team can take work at times, but the stellar results make any struggle worth it.
“I believe in society today we need to see “Kinky Boots,” this story of a young man (character Charlie Price) who received his family’s shoe factory that is going under in business and the way he decides to save the factory is by trying something new with someone who is totally different from him. In a society that says no to things they don’t understand or judge prematurely, we need to learn how to accept each other for our differences. Instead of using that energy towards anything negative, we should use it to be more progressive.”
“Kinky Boots” began its pre-Broadway engagement right here in Chicago in 2013. The show went on to win six 2013 Tony® Awards, including Best Musical. It features a Tony® Award-winning score by Grammy® Award-winning rock icon Cyndi Lauper, a book by four-time Tony® Award-winner Harvey Fierstein, and direction and choreography by Tony® Award-winner Jerry Mitchell.
Malone also urges anyone seeking to get started in the acting business to take that leap but to also remember it’s a small world, so be kind.
“There are no rights or wrongs, the only thing wrong is when you do a disservice to yourself because you’re treating someone with negative thoughts or in a negative action… Many people believe Hollywood and Broadway is so far away; it’s a small world, it’s a great domino effect. So if you want to be successful, stay consistent at being a good person first.”
To see Malone in a limited one-week engagement from Jan. 22-27 at Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre, go to www.broadwayinchicago.com/show/kinky-boots-2018/ and follow him on Instagram @angryactor.
 
 

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