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‘Kinky Boots’ lead actors Laurence Mossman and Nyoy Volante are a study in contrast

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Laurence Mossman is tall, hunky and mestizo while Nyoy Volante is of normal built and very Pinoy. The disparity doesn’t end there.

(From left): Laurence Mossman, Nyoy Volante and Yanah Laurel

The former has background in opera singing, while Nyoy is a pop singer. Both are bringing their skills to the fore in the upcoming musical “Kinky Boots.”

In an interview, Nyoy recalled how he felt meeting Laurence the first time.

“Medyo I felt threatened talaga. Inisip ko na lang ‘Ah hindi, pogi lang ’to, wala ’tong talent.’ Eh, biglang kumanta. ’Di ko alam may opera background, sabi ko, ‘Arggh!’”

In any case, he is thankful both of them landed a part in the same musical, admitting, “Sa rehearsals pa lang we kind of jived agad. At the same time, I think our differences sa looks, sa musicality, complement each other.”

Laurence, who was last seen in “Bituing Walang Ningning: The Musical” and “Fun Home,” is excited over “Kinky Boots.”

Laurence Mossman as Charlie Price

Laurence as Charlie Price

“It’s my first lead role here,” said the half-Kiwi, half-Pinoy looker. “I’m really excited ’cause I just know it’s going to be fun.”

Not to mention that “Kinky Boots” is an awarded musical that has garnered widespread praise abroad. Winner of six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, it features a joyous, Tony-winning score by Cyndi Lauper and a hilarious, uplifting book by four-time Tony winner, Harvey Fierstein.

It tells the story of Charlie Price (Laurence), a young man who inherited his father’s nearly bankrupt shoe factory ratherreluctantly; and Lola (Nyoy), a cross-dressing cabaret performer.

As they work to turn the dwindling fortunes of the shoe factory around, the unlikely pair finds they have more in common than they ever thought possible.

“It’s all about learning, acceptance,” Laurence said. “It’s going beyond appearances and fulfilling dreams.”

Nyoy added, “It’s about finding inspiration in the most unlikely places.”

We asked Nyoy if he is at all concerned that he just might alienate some of his fans taking on a role that require to him to be in drag most of the time, and he said, “Nope. I intend to look my fabulous best as Lola.”

The singer-songwriter said he has internalized the character Lola fairly well at this point.

“Nagre-rehearsals na kasi kami and the way I approach the role, talagang kinukuha ko ang soul nito eh, I do research, study the original, then inject a bit of my own take along the way. So kung natutuwa man akong mag-drag siguro dala na rin ng characterization ko.”

He added, “Sa totoo lang, I don’t think Lola is gay eh, mahilig lang siya magdamit babae.”

Nyoy Volante as Lola (mb.com.ph)

Nyoy as Lola

We then asked Laurence if he is bothered at all by Nyoy’s revelation, and he said, “Not at all. I mean that’s the heart of the show right there. It’s about people coming from different backgrounds, finding themselves and helping each other realize their dreams. But I’m pretty sure, he’s just keeping in character.”

Apart from “Kinky Boots,” Laurence is busy playing gigs with Primo, which he describes as an “eclectic musical group that plays anything under the sun.”

“Name it, we sing it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nyoy, who was last seen on TV via “Your Face Sounds Familiar,” will be focusing more on theater this time around.

Asked if it pays better than TV gigs, he said, “Well, not really, it’s getting there though. I mean, unti-unti siguro. Hindi lang naman ako nagko-cross-over lately, marami na ang nagti-theater na singers, actors and ganu’n din ’yung mga theater actors, nagti-TV na din.”

Directed by Bobby Garcia for Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group (ATEG), “Kinky Boots,” which also stars Yanah Laurel and Tricia Canilao, opens June 30 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati. (With report from Jojo P. Panaligan)

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