Friday, November 05, 2010

Spotlight on Kristopher Thompson-Bolden

BW grad Kristopher Thompson-Bolden to appear in BILLY ELLIOT

During Kristopher Thompson-Bolden's senior year at Houston's High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Victoria Bussert, the head of Baldwin Wallace College's acclaimed Musical Theatre program, did a master class and talked about the BW program. Kris was enthralled, visited the campus, enrolled in the program, and has never looked back.

The 28-year old Thompson-Bolden, who will be a featured dancer in the cast of the touring company of BILLIE ELLIOTT, which opens on November 19 at the State Theatre, also works weekly with the “Billies” on acrobatic moves. Billies, because the touring production has five boys, who trade off portraying the show's lead role. The boys are from Australia, Switzerland, Michigan and California.

Kris is well-known to Cleveland audiences for the many roles he played while a temporary resident. He was seen at Porthouse Theatre in BIG RIVER, THE FANTASTICKS, ONCE ON THIS ISLAND and CHORUS LINE. His Richie in that production gained him a Times Theatre Tribute and a personal review which stated, “He [Kris] captivates an audience with his enthusiasm, fine singing and electric dancing.” He appeared in three productions for Cleveland Opera and did MISS SAIGON and CHORUS LINE at Carousel Dinner Theatre. He was also involved in the Great Lakes Theatre Festival.

Kris left a positive impression. Terri Kent, the Artistic Director at Porthouse said, “Kris is a wonderful human being and a talented and genuine artist. I adore him.”

He, in turn, has positive things to say of this area and BW's program, in particular. He states, “BW has a class-act theatre program. The college and the faculty shaped who I am as a person and a performer.”

After graduating from BW, he went on to appear in professional theatre productions of CATS, WEST SIDE STORY, THE COLOR PURPLE and CHILDREN OF EDEN. Besides BILLIE ELLIOT he has also been in the national touring companies of JOSEPH AND HIS AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT and THE COLOR PURPLE.

The BILLIE ELLIOT tour had what Kris calls a “preview city opening” in Durham, North Carolina on November 3. They will run for two weeks, “working out the kinks in the show” before coming to Cleveland.

Is he interested in appearing on Broadway? Yes, he's interested, but he likes traveling and is making good money touring. He went on to say that “though it's my home base, I'm not attached to New York.” When asked what he expected to be doing ten years from now, he laughed with an infectious sound of pleasure, and sighed!

For further information about Kristopher Thompson-Bolden go to:

What's the musical BILLY ELLIOT about? The winner of ten 2009 Tony Awards including Best Musical, the show is set in a small England town. The story follows Billy as he stumbles out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class, discovering a passion that takes him by surprise, and carries his whole family, and the audience, on an incredibly uplifting adventure.

I saw the show in London, and, if this production is even close to that one, audiences will fall in love with Billy and his tale.

For tickets to BILLIE ELLIOT, which is part of the Key Bank Broadway Series and runs from November 19 through December 12, call 216-241-6000, stop at the State theatre box office, or go to