“Kinky Boots” on Broadway – Girls Just Want to Have Fun (and Heels!)

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There are very few occasions in life when you get to see a cult hit in the making and this past Tuesday, when I saw the musical Kinky Boots on Broadway, was one of those times. A rare combination of electrifying music, a poignant storyline, stellar directing and intensely powerful performances by the two main actors are what makes Kinky Boots a hit people will be talking about long after it closes.

When his father passes away and leaves him a failing shoe factory, Charlie forms a partnership with a drag queen named Lola and reinvents the factory as a boot-manufacturing company. Charlie and Lola soon realize they have a lot more in common than they think and work together in preparation of a big show in Milan. But first they have to work out some of their own kinks and learn a thing or two about accepting those who are different.

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Deftly directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell (Legally Blonde, La Cage aux Folles, Hairspray & The Fully Monty), Kinky Boots’ piece de resistance is its music. Composer & lyricist is none other than Cyndi Lauper. As someone who went to high school in the late 80’s, Cyndi Lauper holds a soft spot in my heart, but even I was surprised she can pull off a musical, let alone do it all by herself. An eclectic mix, the songs ranged from ballads to upbeat showstoppers with music so infectious that I was dancing in my seat during most of the songs. In fact, I had to fight myself from getting up and dancing.

But captivating music isn’t Kinky Boots’ only appeal. The book, written by Harvey Fierstein (Newsies, Torch Song Trilogy, La Cage aux Folles) expertly uses comedy to send a message about acceptance of those who are different in general, and of the LGBT community in particular. And delivering this message are two names you will be hearing a lot: Billy Porter (Miss Saigon) as Lola and Stark Sands (American Idiot) as Charlie.

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As expected, Billy Porter did steal the show. But his part was created to do just that. Stark Sands had the more “boring” job: to act as the extreme opposite of Lola. Almost 10 years Porter’s junior, Sands held his own beautifully and with poise. With a rather wide vocal range, he shined in a short duet with Porter (“Not My Father’s Son”) and captivated with one of the most touching and memorable moments of the show (“The Soul of a Man”). Porter is the heart of the show, and rightfully so, but Sands is its soul. While Porter grabbed the audience and kept us at the edge of our seat, Sands kept us staying on for something that was more than fun, but rather thought-provoking. “The Soul of a Man” was one of the strongest numbers of the show and a pivotal moment for both character and audience and Sands nailed it.

The finale was very uplifting and satisfying. At the Milan show, did Charlie and Lola end up getting what they wanted – buyers for their boots? Who knows. But they got something much more important- and what every minority group strives for – acceptance.

As they say in Kinky Boots, whether you’re ladies, gentlemen, or those who are still deciding…go see the show! You’ll be glad you did!

Kinky Boots is now playing the Al Hirschfeld Theater
302 West 45th Street
(between 8th & 9th Avenue)

To purchase tickets click here or call (212) 239-6200

You can also purchase tickets at the box office:
Mon-Sat: 10am-8pm
Sun: Noon-6pm

Photos by Matthew Murphy

I was not compensated for this post. I received tickets.

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One response »

  1. Great review for a great show. My toes were tapping through most of it. Some if the audience members made it even more of an adventure!!

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