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Why Wayne Brady freaked out at the chance to play drag queen Lola in Kinky Boots

‘Lola is a very charming, lovely, feisty person who is really just this very deeply hurt, flawed individual,’ Brady tells EW

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Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Charmin

Picture it: Whose Line Is It Anyway? star Wayne Brady in drag and some seriously sassy red boots. It’s coming — Brady is taking over the role of Lola in Kinky Boots, effective Nov. 21. 

On Tuesday, Brady teamed up with Charmin to host the Keep it Clean Comedy Show to encourage young comedians to use clean humor and to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House. (Tuesday was apparently National Toilet Paper Day. Who knew?) After the show, Brady sat down with EW to expound on his upcoming Broadway turn.

Brady had hoped to be part of Kinky Boots years ago, when Billy Porter was selected instead for the part of Lola. He and his ex-wife knew director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell from various other projects, and Brady says he thought he’d be involved when the workshop for Kinky Boots came up. Despite his dreams being thwarted at the time, however, Brady remains a fan of Porter: “He made theater magic and killed it and crushed it,” he says. 

But when Porter decided to leave the show, Brady was next on deck. He says he got the call completely out of the blue.

“I freaked out. They didn’t even finish. ‘Hey Wayne, would you, Kinky —‘ ‘Yes.’ It was immediate.”

Brady will play Lola, a drag queen who crosses paths with the heir of a failing shoe factory and suggests the factory churn out ladies’ shoes for men — i.e., “kinky boots.”

“Lola is a very charming, lovely, feisty person who is really just this very deeply hurt, flawed individual,” Brady says. “I think I can bring a warmth to Lola that will be funny and bring all the comedy to it, and then when it’s time to turn on a dime, then that’ll help that.”

He says he’s most excited to play Lola because the character is so far away from the personality of the real Brady.

“You don’t get into this business to be you,” he says. “I got into show business because I wanted to dress up as an old man on a park bench, I wanted to be an action hero, I wanted to be the drug dealer, I wanted to be a knight, I wanted to be Robin Hood, I wanted to be whatever else besides Wayne. So playing Lola is as far from Wayne as I could possibly be. A British drag queen who was an amateur boxer? Bingo.”

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