Theater Review - Kinky Boots (NY)

Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets.  Portrayed by Billy Porter, she is going to sweep all the awards!

 

New musicals are sprouting on Broadway like the first crocuses of spring. “Kinky Boots,” like “Hands on a Hardbody,” is based on a film that tells a true story.  That is the only thing these two works have in common.  In “Kinky Boots,” Harvey Fierstein (Book), award-winner, writer and actor, creator of “Torch Song Trilogy” and” La Cage Aux Folles,” and Cyndi Lauper (Music and Lyrics), famed as a pop icon, have teamed up with Stephen Oremus (Music Supervision & Orchestrations) and Jerry Mitchell (Director and Choreographer) to present a story of tolerance and understanding that takes place in a struggling shoe factory. While” Hardbody” uses a laconic country style and choreography that centers around a red truck,  KinkyBoots” employs a sizzling hot rock score to tell its story; a crowd-pleaser that entertains, it uses elements of other musicals.  This annoyed me.  

 

Not only is David Rockwell's two-tiered set like the one used in “Billy Elliot,” but Lola, one of the lead characters,wants to be a dancer not a boxer like his dad! Sound familiar?  In the opening scene, Charlie Price, the pleasantly attractive Stark Sands, tells his dad that he doesn't want to take over the family business in Northampton, England. The next day he arrives in London with his pushy fiancé, Nicola, the stunning dark-haired Celina Carvajak, and his dad dies leaving a mess.  Trying to get rid of many orders of unsold shoes, Charlie saves a gorgeous woman from a beating.  Seems Lola's a drag queen performer really named Simon. In songs like, “The Land of Lola” and “Sex is in the Heel” Billy Porter displays a raging talent. Each of Lola's Angels, costumed gaudily by Gregg Barnes and bewigged by Josh Marquette with over-the-top make-up by Randy Houston Mercer, competes for top spot. This is where I felt I was back in “La Cage Aux Folles” with the Cagelles. 

 

Back at the store, Lauren, the pert, blond and very funny, Annaleigh Ashford, is madly in love with Charlie; she convinces him to keep the workers and the business by developing his idea for a new kinky boot that is suitable for a man's foot.  She brings down the house in “The History of  Wrong Guys.”  Much to the workers' annoyance, Charlie asks Lola to work with him as a designer; their goal is to show them in Milan, Italy. The boots are fabulous, but Lola is abused by Don, a part Daniel Sherman invests with real personality. When Nicola, Charlie's fiancé, tries to convert Price's office building into high-priced condos, the romance is over and Lauren is in the right seat. 

 

“Kinky Boots” : High energy fun, but not exactly original.  On Broadway.

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