Checking In With… Pretty Woman and Kinky Boots Star Kyle Taylor Parker | Playbill

Checking In With... Checking In With… Pretty Woman and Kinky Boots Star Kyle Taylor Parker "I think a big message in our telling of this story is that everyone deserves a shot at their dream."
Kyle Taylor Parker
Kyle Taylor Parker

This week Playbill catches up with Kyle Taylor Parker, who plays Happy Man in the national tour of the musical Pretty Woman, based on the hit film of the same name. The actor made his Broadway debut in the Tony-winning Kinky Boots and played the role of Lola both on tour and on the Main Stem. Parker has also been seen on Broadway in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and his other theatrical credits include Smokey Joe’s Café and Finian’s Rainbow as well as the NBC live broadcast of Jesus Christ Superstar. His solo albums include two volumes of Broadway Soul.

Checking In With… Cheek to Cheek Star Phillip Attmore

Kyle Taylor Parker in <i>Pretty Woman: The Tour</i>
Kyle Taylor Parker in Pretty Woman: The Tour Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade

What is your typical day like now?
The show is really high energy, so I usually spend the day resting. If I have the energy, I’ll visit art museums or take walks to check out the local art murals and keep inspired creatively.

Can you describe how it felt to be back in a rehearsal room on the first day you and the cast and creators of Pretty Woman assembled?
I don’t know that I’ve ever been in a rehearsal room filled with more joy and gratitude. We all realized how special it was to be doing what we love again. In turn, the rehearsal process was one of the most creatively fulfilling processes I’ve ever had. I think that has a lot to do with the time off.

Are there any parts of your role or the musical that seem particularly poignant/relevant following the events of the past 18 months?
I think a big message in our telling of this story is that everyone deserves a shot at their dream. Every person is worthy of kindness, compassion, and love. As the Happy Man, I play a range of characters, everything from a street peddler to a conductor at the Metropolitan Opera. I think the big take away is don’t judge a book by its cover—people can be anything they put their mind to.

Kyle Taylor Parker
Kyle Taylor Parker in Kinky Boots Photo by Matthew Murphy

During this time of reflection and re-education regarding BIPOC artists and artistry, particularly in the theatre, what do you want people (those in power, fellow artists, audiences) to be aware of? What do you want them to consider further?
I think there’s a lot to consider. The humanity of the artists telling the stories, what we bring to creative processes, our individual experiences, and how emotionally safe the rehearsal rooms are for collaboration and sharing.

What, if anything, did you learn about yourself during the past year-and-a-half that you didn't already know?
I learned how much is actually possible when you work together and put your mind to it. I made my second album, Broadway Soul, Vol. 2, last year via remote collaboration. The band recorded from home studios, and I recorded from my closet in Harlem. My producers and I planned the album over Zoom and a lot of phone calls. The collaboration got me through the height of the pandemic.

What organization would you recommend people learn more about or donate to during this time of change?
Broadway for Racial Justice.

Checking In With… Caroline, or Change Star Samantha Williams

See Kyle Taylor Parker Bring Broadway Soul to Feinstein's/54 Below

 
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