I had the privilege to attend a preview of Kinky Boats on Broadway last month:
In Kinky Boots, Charlie Price (Stark Sands) has suddenly inherited his father’s shoe factory, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. Trying to live up to his father’s legacy and save his family business, Charlie finds inspiration in the form of Lola (Billy Porter). A fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos, Lola turns out to be the one person who can help Charlie become the man he’s meant to be. As they work to turn the factory around, this unlikely pair finds that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible… and discovers that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world.
Inspired by a true story and based on the film, Kinky Boots features a warm and witty book by Mr. Fierstein (La Cage, Torch Song Trilogy, Newsies) and a richly diverse musical score from Ms. Lauper, in her stunning theatrical debut. Mr. Mitchell (Hairspray, La Cage, Broadway Bares) has crafted a production bound to move, inspire and set audience’s feet dancing:
Honestly, it started off a little slow for me. But as soon as the first drag queen number hit the stage, I was hooked! Not that the whole show was a drag revue, it was not, but that is the moment I fell in love with this story and performance.
Tough economic times. We all know of those, we have been living with them for the last few years. And here is a man, who as luck would have it, has the right people around him him when needed to guide him to be able to save his family’s shoe factory. I love that this was inspired by a true story, you can feel the realness of the narrative, it did not feel contrived.
And as much as the drag performances on stage were fantastic, they were not the main theme of the show. And, they were fantastic! As they say in the play, drag is becoming main stream, and this show is great evidence of that. Living in NYC my son saw posters for Ru Paul”s Drag race on the subway walls and has grown up knowing that this is part of our society. There is a drag character on Glee, and for goodness sakes, that is on the Fox Network! Drag is out of the closet, and well it should be, for all to see and enjoy, and no one to feel shame about ever again!
Which brings up the topic of bullying Our main character was bullied by is own dad who did not want a sissy for a son. Luckily for this drag queen to be, Lola’s dad trained him to be a boxer so defending himself was never a problem. But verbal bullying leaves a mark on the inside and can’t be fought away. The turn around of some of the “masculine” characters was a great illustration of the positive affect of educating folks can be to stop bullying.
I applaud Harvey Fierstein’s work on this play. His book was fabulous! The character of Lauren was my real favorite, she worked her story line and did a fantastic acting and singing job.
I saw the play in preview, so it was not the fully finished product. What did that mean? It meant that, word was, Harvey Fierstein was in attendance. I did not try to stalk him, I am more polite than that. The same could not be said of Cyndi Lauper who wrote the music and lyrics. She was incognito right behind me so I had to gush, just for 10 seconds, and tell her how much I was enjoying the show. And I said it twice to put her at ease, and then I walked away so she could work. That was a thrill for me!!!
I plan on taking my spouse to see Kinky Boots, he is a straight laced lawyer who loves this type of show! I would also take my almost 10 year old son (he may have seen a few Drag race episodes, I’ll never tell! ), it is a play that is not just entertaining, it is joyful, you’ll have to get tickets to see for yourself! And be prepared to want to dance in the aisles!
Disclosure: I received a ticket to attend a preview of the show. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.
And the celeb pic! Here are the bloggers with Billy Porter, Lola! the star of the show!