Houston socialite Carolyn Farb co-producing dramatization of eccentric Texan's life
Former Houstonian Jesse Dayton has been tapped to play the lead role of Kinky Friedman in Becoming Kinky: The World According to Kinky Friedman, Dayton told Rocks Off this afternoon.
Written by New York author Ted Swindley, whose credits include the long-running musical Always ... Patsy Cline, the play is described by Dayton to be similar to the popular 1960s play Mark Twain Tonight!
Swindley attended the auditions for the role, which were held in Houston last Saturday. "They did the auditions here because they wanted a Texas accent and someone who could sing the songs," Dayton says. "So I did some of the monologue and also sang 'They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore.'"
According to Dayton, there will be six shows in Houston to work out the kinks (pun intended), "then we'll see what happens with taking it to New York."
Dayton, whose latest album One For the Dancehalls has steadily climbed up the Americana and Texas Music charts since its release last month, says scheduling was the only real issue, but his management worked it out satisfactorily.
"I'm only going to miss two Broken Spoke Thursday shows, and that was the biggest issue for us to overcome," says Dayton from his studio in Austin.
"Since getting to do some acting through my Rob Zombie connections, I've wanted to work on my acting chops and the only way to do that is get on a stage and do it," the Beaumont native, who appeared as undead rockabilly singer Captain Clegg in Zombie's Halloween II in 2009 and released the quasi-self-titled album Captain Clegg & the Night Creatures to go along with the film.
"So this should be great training," Dayton says. "And who knows what might happen from it? At the very least I'll probably get a bunch of press and I'll get to learn a bunch from some people who know the stage."
Dayton has recently taken on an agent in Los Angeles, who is pursuing movie and television parts for the honky-tonker.
"This is going to be something so different for me," says Dayton, "and I'm super-excited about this."
Dayton describes the script as "hilarious."
"I died laughing reading it," he says. "Swindley pulled material from Kinky's albums, his novels, and his life and it's just a very cool, funny script. He and Kinky have spent a lot of time together and I think it shows in the treatment that Swindley gave it."
Dayton recently starred in a low-budget Austin movie called The Sinner. That work is currently being shopped in Los Angeles.
Becoming Kinky: The World According to Kinky Friedman will debut with four shows at McGonigel's Mucky Duck March 28-31. Opening night tickets are $100 and include a four-course meal. From each ticket, $20 will be donated to Friedman's Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch charity. Tickets for the other nights are $80 and include dinner.
Houston socialite Carolyn Farb, who was a supporter of Friedman's unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign, is one of the producers of the play along with actress Ruth Buzzi and her husband Kent Perkins, who was one of Friedman's political advisors.