Just 6 years out of Staples High School, Adam Kaplan was on Broadway.
The 2008 grad — who starred in Players, then earned a degree in musical theater from Elon University — had 2 roles (and understudied for the lead) in the hit show “Newsies.”
When the show closed, Adam joined the touring company of “Kinky Boots.” He’s already played 22 cities, all across America.
Next month (June 8-12), he’ll be thisclose to both Broadway and Westport. “Kinky Boots” comes to New Haven, for a limited — but very exciting — run.
Adam Kaplan (left) has learned that life on the road is not all fun and games.
Adam loves touring. The idea of being paid to see the country — while doing what he loves — always appealed to him. A huge foodie, he checks out the hot spots at each stop.
A cast member writes a “Boots Bugle” newsletter, giving helpful hints about each city. So far, Adam has particularly enjoyed the barbecue in Austin, and the Riverwalk in San Antonio. In New Orleans, the city honored the show with a “Silly Shoes” parade.
Yet, Adam says, as glamorous as it sounds, it’s also exhausting. “Doing 8 shows a week on Broadway was hard. Doing 8 shows a week — and traveling to a different city every Monday — adds another element.”
The constant changes in climate — allergies and pollen in Atlanta, then dry Los Angeles, for instance — take tolls on the actors’ bodies and voices.
Charlie — Adam’s character — rarely leaves the stage. Cindy Lauper wrote “amazing” music for the show, Adam says. But “it’s not an easy sing.” He takes plenty of coconut water and Claritin, and sleeps as much as he can.
That being said, Adam finds it “incredibly rewarding” to tell “Kinky Boots”‘ story across the country.
Adam Kaplan and the cast spend time promoting “Kinky Boots” — on a red carpet, of course.
The title connotes “debauchery and raunchiness,” he knows.” But at its heart it’s about 2 very unlikely people who come together to solve a problem. We preach the idea that ‘you change the world when you change your mind.'”
Certain markets need to hear that message more than others, Adam says. Each city reacts uniquely. Audiences laugh and cheer at different moments.
Yet, Adam notes, “whether we’re in conservative markets or liberal San Francisco, they’re on their feet at the end of the show.”
He’s gratified to receive letters from grown men, saying they wish they had a show like “Kinky Boots” when they were younger, to give them support.
Adam is surprised that he knows at least one person in every city he’s visited. But most of his friends and family are in New York and Connecticut, so he’s especially excited about New Haven.
Having grown up at the Shubert, he’ll feel “surreal” on that stage. (He also looks forward to sleeping in his own Westport bed.)
When Adam went on for the lead in “Newsies,” Westporters flocked to see him. “Connecticut is in the house!” the stage manager joked.
Next month, Adam’s many friends and fans will make the even shorter journey to New Haven. After all, it began right here.
(For more information and tickets, click here, call Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000, or visit the Shubert box office at 247 College Street, New Haven.)
Adam Kaplan, on stage. (Photos/Matthew Murphy)