Putting the O in Boots

Tanner Oglesby takes part in the Kinky Boots Production in Little Rock.


Junior Amelia Nickols and Choir teacher Tanner Oglesby pose for a photo outside the theater in which the production of Kinky Boots took place.

Jasper Robertson, Writer

Ever since the musical “Kinky Boots” came out in 2013, Tanner Oglesby, the school’s choir director, has been a fan. Since then, Oglesby has seen it performed professionally 4 times, and this September he had a role in the production of it in Little Rock.

He played the character Harry, an old friend of the main character named Charlie. He also was a part of the ensemble, and he enjoyed both roles. 

“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “It was a challenge for me because the song that the character sings is pretty high in range, and I am a lower ranged individual vocally.”

Oglesby not only enjoyed his parts in the show, but he also enjoyed seeing the people who came to the show to support him.

“I had several students come to see the show, and it was always super fun seeing them after the show, and getting to thank them for coming,” he said. “Theater is something extra that I do that brings me joy, and I try to support my students in things they do outside of school, and so knowing that they also have my back too and want to see me be happy and succeed is a really cool feeling.”

Before he became a teacher, Oglesby considered a job in theater.

“At one point I definitely considered performing professionally, and I still perform professionally locally, it’s just not my full career,” he said. “I get paid to perform in various things in central Arkansas, but ultimately I love teaching. I have a huge passion for teaching. I knew that’s what I wanted to do, and there’s a little bit more stability there as well, so I’m able to have that consistent paycheck and also do what I love everyday, but then get to add theater on to it.”

Oglesby has multiple friends in the professional field of theater, and he heard about the role from one of his friends.

“One of my best and longest friends who is involved in theater, his name is Justin Pike, is the director of the show, and I have music directed productions of his before,” he said. “He actually needed somebody to fill the role, and was kind of looking for that, and we were talking about it and I was like ‘I could play the role.’ And he was like ‘Oh my gosh, you could. That would be perfect, would you be willing to?’ because he knows that with school starting, it’s hard to do school and theater at the same time, and I was like ‘Yeah I’ll do it!’ Because this show is a dream show.”

According to Oglesby, balancing school and the musical was his biggest struggle while working on the show.

“I would like to preface by saying I don’t regret it at all, but the biggest struggle with doing the show was starting the school year as a teacher, which is the toughest time of the school year, [as well as] at the very end,” he said. “Doing that and a show every night, there were nights where I was getting home at midnight, and then having to wake up at 5:30 to teach the whole day. That’s been the toughest part, is just managing time and making sure everything is holding together, but it has been pretty well.” 

As Oglesby continues to teach and take part in theater productions, he wants to give a piece of advice to everyone at the school. 

“I hope that [the students] just really go out there and be themselves and do what they love to do, and if they do that, they’re not going to have to work a hard day ever in their life,” he said.