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Andy Kelso of 'Kinky Boots' on Broadway

A Day in the Life of Andy Kelso of ‘Kinky Boots’

The 'Kinky Boots' co-star on where he gets his butt kicked in yoga, Bridezilla-free wedding planning and which candy makes his mouth water onstage

Andy Kelso had some big, well, boots to fill when he took over the role of Charlie Price in Kinky Boots from Tony nominee Stark Sands. While Kelso had been with the show since the beginning (playing Charlie’s friend Harry and understudying the role of Charlie), the new part is nothing less than thrilling for the actor and Denver native. “I auditioned and heard I got it later that day,” recalls Kelso. “I was just so elated, but they wanted me to keep it on the DL before the whole thing was announced. But I was trying to keep it under wraps so I had to kind of act like I didn’t know.” To add to his elation, the actor also proposed to his fiancée, actress Sheila Coyle, this past September (the wedding is set for mid-October). With a schedule that includes prepping for Kinky Boots and wedding planning, Kelso shared a day in his life.

10am
Since I’ve moved up to the role of Charlie, I’ve been trying to take care of myself, especially these first few weeks, because the role is really demanding as far as my energy and vocally.  I went to bed at 2am, so I made sure to get at least eight hours of sleep every night.

Kelso's prized turntable and vinyl collection (Photo: Courtesy Andy Kelso)

Kelso’s prized turntable and vinyl collection (Photo: Courtesy Andy Kelso)

10:10am
My fiancée, Sheila, and I always like to make breakfast together because with this schedule, there’s not a whole lot of time at night to see each other. So we try to take advantage of our mornings and afternoons together. Vinyl has become a huge hobby of mine now. I just love the sound quality. One of my buddies kind of told me, “you should really start listening to vinyl just because the sound quality is much better.” So I’ve kind of geeked out and gotten a pretty record player. We usually listen to Billie Holiday or Bon Iver, something more mellow and nice to wake up to. We made scrambled eggs with some avocado and toast. We’re both very good at making eggs.

11:05am
We’re getting married in October and trying to stay on top of getting things lined up. Recently our photographer got pregnant so she can’t shoot our wedding. So we researched some photographers. We also have started looking at the guest list again because we’re finding that our preliminary list needs to get revised.

I don’t believe either of us would be considered Bridezillas, but we’re both very active and enjoying the process of creating the wedding together. We’re not super decisive on this stuff because we’ll say, “that would be cool but that would also be cool.” So we don’t have an ideal image in our mind. So far it’s been fun. We’re getting married in the Philadelphia area and so sometimes it’s tough to do all the stuff remotely.

1:08pm
We needed to get some laundry done. So I dropped off our laundry at our local laundromat. And then I came back and got ready to go work out. Recently, I’ve been trying to do more yoga. It really gets the breath going, is such a great full body workout and a way to ground myself for the day for this show.

2:00pm
I live in Astoria and there’s a great affordable yoga studio called Yoga Agora. It’s small so sometimes the classes can be crowded, but they’re always really nice and accommodating. Juan, the teacher, kicks my butt.

3:30pm
My uncle and my aunt came to see the show so rather than go out after, we decided to have dinner before. So I came home and showered and got ready and made sure that Sheila and I could leave the house by about 4:15, hop on the train and head into the city. On our way in, Sheila said, “well maybe I should try for the lottery to see the show tonight?”

Arriving at the Al Hirschfeld Theater (Photos: Courtesy Andy Kelso)

Arriving at the Al Hirschfeld Theater (Photos: Courtesy Andy Kelso)

4:50pm
We got to the theater where they were holding the lottery at about ten minutes to 5:00, when they draw. And she won! We have access to amazing house seats but we have to pay full price and it was last minute. That’s not to say that we couldn’t get them, but sometimes they’re just not available last minute. We also like to keep it pretty fair for the people who are actually there to do the lottery. So we’re able to put our names in with the lottery but there’s no special treatment, we’re with the general public as far as luck goes.

It’s funny because they just put my picture up on the pillar right next to where the lottery is. It’s cold out and I had my hood on and was kind of ducking around the corner. When I was on tour with Wicked, Sheila would play the lottery too. We’d plan a day or two where she’d come and watch the show. My name always got called. But for some reason, she never had her name drawn. So yesterday was her first time getting her name drawn so had a little celebration.

5:06pm
We met my uncle and my aunt at Nizza, a nice little Italian place right around the corner from the theater with little flatbread pizzas. I really like it and figured that it’d be a nice place for my uncle and aunt (who are from Arizona) to have some Italian food in New York City. I knew that I’d have to leave early to go to the theater to get ready and so I wanted to make sure that I could spend enough time with them. Sheila and I split a shrimp scampi appetizer and this artichoke, olive pizza. It wasn’t a whole lot of food which was good because I don’t really like to perform on a super full stomach.

6:15pm
Our show’s half hour [the half hour before the curtain goes up] is at 6:30. But I wanted to make sure I got there earlier to just make sure I got my warm up in. It’s a warm up that I’ve gotten from my voice teacher. It starts with a little bit of movement connected with breath, which gets me grounded and the breath flowing. My vocal warm up usually lasts about 20 minutes. I also do tongue stretches where I stretch my tongue outside of my mouth and just move my tongue around in my mouth a lot. Sometimes it can get sloppy and slobbery. Then the rest is scales. It helps me get me comfortable in the range that I’m going to be singing in.

Kelso and his co-stars doing their pre-show ritual (Photo: Courtesy Andy Kelso)

Kelso and his co-stars doing their pre-show ritual (Photo: Courtesy Andy Kelso)

7:00pm
At around places, a group of us meets on stage and everyone puts their hands in the middle. At the start of Act 1 we say “oi, oi, oi, shoes!” And then at the start of Act 2 we say, “oi, oi, oi boots!” It’s just sort of a silly thing that we’ve done — a little tradition. Whoever’s around on stage at the time, we just do it.

8:16pm
I’m still trying to develop my routine. But usually at intermission I come into my dressing room and I’m usually so hot. Even in the winter. The whole show I wear light sweaters. And the whole first act I’m go, go, go. So I turn on the fan and sit in front of it for a little while. And then I start getting ready. I’ve got new shoes that were made for me for the show that I’m still trying to break in. So I usually try to get those on as soon as I can just so they start to break in.

Kelso and his trusty Sour Patch Kid (Photo: Courtesy Andy Kelso)

Kelso and his trusty Sour Patch Kid (Photo: Courtesy Andy Kelso)

9:04pm
In the second act before the fight scene that leads into “Soul of a Man,” I have a really long time on stage. I don’t have a break to get any water. And of course, “Soul of a Man” is one of the more vocally demanding songs. I was noticing that at that point, I can sometimes get so dry by that point. So before that scene I’m backstage with Annaleigh [Ashford]. We eat Sour Patch Kids because they make you salivate. I usually have a couple before that scene and then I steal one and I throw it in my pocket because there is just one tiny little break where I can just throw it into my mouth before the scene while I’m on stage. So that kind of helps me keep just salivating. They get stuck in your teeth a little bit, but it’s there for you.

9:31pm
I’m from Denver and some family friends from high school had flown in to see me in the show. They were really involved in our performing arts department so it was really special for them to be able to see the show and for me to have them out there. And then there was my uncle and his wife, my fiancee and her friend. And in addition, there was also Stephen Oremus who’s the music supervisor on the show and a friend of mine. So everyone came backstage to my dressing room and it was great. Sheila had gotten me this little scotch decanter set thing for my dressing room for these exact situations, to have people backstage and just have a little toast afterwards.

My uncle and my aunt were absolutely thrilled. We always lived so far away from each other. When we were growing up he lived on the East Coast. And now he’s in Arizona, I’m over here so he’s only actually seen me perform a couple times. He’s a theatrical guy himself. He does community theater so he was just so happy to see the show. It was amazing.

10:08pm
Once everyone left, we hopped in a cab and came back to Astoria.

10:52pm
Before I go to bed, I know it sounds weird, but my [ear/nose/throat doctor] sent me a nasal nebulizer that I use every night. It sounds so geeky. And then I had some tea, watched The Daily Show and got into bed.

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