New York City

Kinky Boots: Broadway Review

*This review was first posted at  http://www.nycdadsgroup.com/2013/04/broadway-show-review-kinky-boots.html

kinky boots poster It’s great to dream big dreams for your children, but don’t let your dreams get in the way of your child being who he was born to be.  The new musical, Kinky Boots, explores what happens when a father’s dream and a son’s ambition follow two very different paths. What to do? In the case of Charlie and Lola (I’m not talking about the Disney cartoon series here), you sing about Red Boots – apparently, sex lies somewhere in the heel.

Kinky Boots 3

Charlie (Stark Sands) comes from a long line of men who have a passion for making shoes, a passion Charlie does not share. His dreams are not focused on footwear, but on his fiancée (Celina Carvajal) and their new life in London. When Charlie’s dad unexpectedly dies, Charlie inherits the family shoe company, which has fallen on hard times.  His brain and his fiancée tell him that he should bail, but his heart and a sense of loyalty to his father and the company’s employees tell him he should fight for the business.

Billy PorterMeanwhile, Lola (Billy Porter) finds herself in need of a great pair of boots after she destroys her own in a back-alley brawl.   The boot must be sexy red and sturdy enough for a man to dance around in, since Lola performs and lives in drag.  Apparently, it’s hard for a man to find a good pair of women’s shoes. After meeting one another, Charlie and Lola set out together to save the shoe factory by creating a line of kinky boots. On the way, they also change the minds of those who think they know what a man is or should be.

Cindy Lauper’s terrific songs (she wrote both the music and lyrics) call forth a wide variety of emotions; from coming close to tears during “I’m Not My Father’s Son” and “Hold Me In Your Heart,” to laughing out loud at “The History of Wrong Guys,” to dancing in my seat during “Raise You Up/Just Be,” the musical was a roller-coaster ride.  The book is by the legendary Harvey Fierstein, and is directed by Jerry Mitchell.  Performances by Porter and Sands are as good, if not better, than any other performances you’ll see on Broadway this year. Annaleigh Ashford also gives an outstanding and funny performance as the girl in love with the guy – sometimes the wrong guy.

I thoroughly enjoyed this show from beginning to end, and judging by the audience reaction, I wasn’t the only one. At times, the English accents didn’t quite work and there were a few slow spots, but they were few and far between. If I had anything to do with the Tony Awards, I would probably start writing Billy Porter’s name on a statue. Come awards time, there will probably be a lot of other names from this show inscribed as well.

Leave the kids at home (the program advertises itself as appropriate for ages 12 and up) and take your special someone for a Broadway night out. There are a lot of other great shows on Broadway right now, but you’ll be hard pressed to find one better than Kinky Boots for sheer fun.

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