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These Kinky Boots Were Made... By the Tech Crew

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By now you’ve heard that Kinky Boots, en route to Broadway, has high-kicked its way into town. Our Town got a behind the scenes glimpse into the show’s workings when we spoke with Kinky Boots' Assistant Prop Manager Jacob White.

Our Town When did you realize you wanted to do tech professionally?
Jacob White I actually remember that moment clearly.  It was about half-way through my junior year of college. I was a computer science major but had always done work in our college theater. I worried a lot about falling behind in my studies because I spent all my time in the theater.  I was thinking this over in the shower one day and it just struck me that I was doing the wrong thing.  I literally got out of the shower, changed my major, and was totally excited to be on track to doing something I was passionate about.

OT What behind the scenes info would people be surprised to know about Broadway shows?
JW I hate to say it but there is no magic. It’s the same as a high school theater, a college theater, a regional theater--only with more resources.  Broadway is the collected efforts of a lot of very experienced people doing the same work that goes on in every other theater across America, or probably the world for that matter.

OT What's the best part of your job?
JW The job itself. It’s fun being backstage. It’s fun getting to meet and work with all sorts of creative people [and bringing] entertainment to a room full of people is exciting!

OT And the worst?
JW The hours. I've been in Chicago now since Labor Day and have had a total of 6 days off.

OT So, have you had any chance to experience Chicago?
JW Despite growing up in Milwaukee, my previous Chicago experiences were limited. I haven't had a lot of chances to explore, however as a cyclist, I've found the city very accommodating. I love the lakefront parks and trails, and have also been able to explore the nightlife from the Loop to Wicker Park to Lincoln Square, and found I really love it here. It will be bittersweet to return home to New York in a few weeks. One bright spot was a late night excursion to the Green Mill Lounge on Lawrence and Broadway which was amazing. I had such a great time there.

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OT How were the props created for Kinky Boots?
JW The majority of the props used in the show were manufactured and obtained by Kathy Fabien and her staff at Propstar. They work with other New York prop shops and scene shops to build the larger items such as the shoe machines, the rolling bar unit, and the five working treadmill units.  There is a gag in the show where you see Charlie build a boot from scratch, rolling out leather to a finished product right in front of your eyes, and that was all created and facilitated by Kathy and her team.

OT As assistant prop manager, what do your days leading up to opening look like?
JW At this point in the production, we are actually ramping down.  Most of the problems have been solved and we're really only working on minor fixes and repairs that may or may not be noticeable to the audience. For me, tech rehearsals and preview performances are all about setting up a rhythm.

OT What’s the show’s trajectory?
JW It is no secret that this production in Chicago was a test run preceding a Broadway premiere set for the Spring 2013 Broadway season.  The show is technically classified as a pre-Broadway production.  While every show goes about things a little differently, doing an out-of-town try-out is fairly standard for a new musical. We will end our run at the Bank of America Theater on November 4th and load out and go back to New York.  Previews will begin there in March and we'll open officially in April.

OT What can audiences expect from the show?
JW It’s just a fun, lively time.  The music (by Cyndi Lauper) is fantastic and so incredibly memorable, and the brilliant book by veteran of the stage, Harvey Fierstein will leave you wanting more.  I don't think anyone could be disappointed.

Kinky Boots runs through November 4th at The bank of America Theatre. Purchase tickets here.

A writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum freelances for sites like Pop Matters and
afterellen.com Her debut novel, “Herself When She’s Missing," was called “poetic and heartrending” by ALA Booklist. Sarah is also a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago’s StoryStudio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She's kind of looking forward to it actually.
IMPORTANT: the official Our Town site doesn't support comments. Join in the conversation by following facebook.com/OurTownBlog.ChicagoSunTimes and Sarah on Twitter: @SarahTerez
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This page contains a single entry by Sarah Terez-Rosenblum published on October 23, 2012 1:35 PM.

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