Grand Bend Actor Recognized for Work as a “Swing”

Local actor-singer-dancer Thomas Alderson was recognized recently on National Swing Day, for his role in the cast of Kinky Boots, now playing at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto.   Thomas makes his home in Grand Bend when he isn’t on the road as a performer.

Thomas is a “Swing” in Kinky Boots, and recently the Actors’ Equity Association (the union for stage actors) named a special day to give recognition to Swings.  He was honoured along with five other Swings in the show.  Kinky Boots has been extended on stage until May 15.

So what is a Swing?  As Equity puts it, “Swings are those members of the company who cover all the other chorus members. Often the most important to cast because of the nature of the job, a Swing must have a wide vocal range, be able to dance and be able to step into a role from young child to an older character, male or female. A Swing also must know the smallest detail of every ‘track.’ Essentially, the Swing must be able to do it all and must be ready to go on at a moment’s notice.”

Thomas plays factory workers and Angels in Kinky Boots: Before and after make-up.
Thomas plays factory workers and Angels in Kinky Boots: Before and after make-up.

In Kinky Boots, Thomas steps in for six different drag queens who dance in stilettos and sing in high voices.  He also handles various roles of male factory workers.  In total, he does 10 different parts.

The popular musical Kinky Boots won six Tony awards when it opened on Broadway in 2013.  It’s based on the true story of a failing shoe factory in England that found a niche market making high-heeled boots for drag queens.  It has a heart-warming message of accepting people for who they are and overcoming prejudice.  The hit song says just “be who you wanna be”.  It also provides thoughtful commentary on father-son relationships for those who think they can never live up to their parents’ standards.  The lively score is written by Cyndi Lauper.  It is billed as a family show, with appeal across generations.

Thomas, the son of Mary and Victor Alderson, grew up near Grand Bend and attended Bosanquet Central School.  He first appeared at Huron Country Playhouse as little Louis in The King and I at age 12.  As a youngster, he performed in several productions with Theatre Sarnia, Bluewater Musicals and played The Artful Dodger in Oliver! in Port Huron.  He was in four High School Projects at London’s Grand Theatre, and graduated from the Performing Arts program at H. B. Beal Secondary School in London.  He went on to study Musical Theatre at Sheridan College in Oakville where he graduated with the Academic and Triple Threat Awards.

He has been part of many productions at Huron Country Playhouse and in numerous shows with Drayton Entertainment.  Recent roles in Grand Bend include Not Dead Fred, The Historian, Prince Herbert and others in Spamalot, Bud Frump in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and Mordred in Camelot.  He was part of the cast in Mary Poppins and La Cage Aux Folles at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax, Anne of Green Gables at Theatre Calgary, and White Christmas at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg.  In addition, he was David Martin in the movie Stage Fright with Meat Loaf and Minnie Driver, and he is part of the boy band SoundCheck in the TVO/PBS television series Odd Squad.

Kinky Boots opened in June 2015 in Toronto and will run until May 15, 2016.  Tickets can be purchased online at


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