Kinky Boots are boots that some would consider extreme and offer a quite dramatic and very sexy appearance. The term originated in the early sixties in England when high boots of this type were associated with the underground S&M world and were often worn by a dominatrix.
Kinky Boots The Musical, loosely based on a true story and the movie of the same name took home six 2013 Tony Awards. Among these were Best Musical, Best Choreography (Jerry Mitchell), Best Orchestrations (Stephen Oremus) and Best Sound Design (John Shivers); Also making history was the Tony for Best Score (Cyndi Lauper). No woman before has ever won the Tony for Score.
With book by Harvey Fierstein Kinky Boots tells the story of Charlie Price the reluctant owner of a shoe factory inherited when his father passes away. The factory set in a rural working class town somewhere outside of London employs a motley group that for the most part has never worked anywhere else.
Price quickly learns that his inheritance is riddled with debt and is making a product that is out of step with the marketplace. A chance encounter with Cabaret/Drag star Lola leads him to discover the niche market he has been looking for to save the company and the jobs his employees so desperately need. A very unlikely partnership is quickly formed. Charlie and Lola will create 'Kinky Boots' with the fabulousness required by a drag queen, but more importantly with heels that could support the weight of a man.
Creating a stiletto heel that will support more than 250 lbs. is a challenge but not the only one faced by Charlie and Lola. There is worker revolt, homophobia, an over bearing long distance fiancé and another love interest for Charlie that has been right in front of him the entire time.
This is not Kinky Boots first stop in DFW, it has played both Dallas and Fort Worth in the past couple of years and I have been to both of these productions. I always found the show to be close to perfect but for me the one piece that just didn't quite maintain the same level of perfection seen in every other facet of the show was Lauper's score.
“I tried really hard to write songs that could also live outside of the theater,” Lauper says. “Before radio, Broadway music was Top 40 popular music. People bought sheet music and played the music at home with their families. I really tried hard to honor that tradition with Kinky Boots by writing songs that people would want to listen to at home after leaving the theater, or without even seeing the show.”
In large part she achieved that goal. It was not that it was not a great score. The show is full of amazing stand outs. But it was not the seamless perfection of shows (as rare as they are) like “Wicked”. That was until now. New Arrangements, and some other updates have brought the score on par with the rest of the production.
Lauper’s score is at times contemporary in a way seen in “Rent”, “In the Height’s”, and “American Idiot”. Other times it is as good as traditional Broadway gets. It is fresh and fun in a way that is vital to Broadway’s future. It is what will attract a younger generation into Broadways ‘theaters. The score also offers something for everyone, while never alienating anyone. There is not one but two gut wrentching numbers that you will feel deep into your soul “Not My Father's Son” and the equally powerful “Hold Me In Your Heart”. There is a hint of pop country in “Take What You Got”. And Clearly in a nod to Laupers' incredible dedicated Queer audience there are a couple of stellar dance numbers “Land of Lola” and the bring the audience to their feet finale “Raise You Up!
Timothy Ware hits all the right notes as Lola. He brings a confidence and a sassyness to Lola that makes him the best Lola I have seen. Curt Hansen’s Charlie is completely enthralling, a good guy that you will find yourself rooting for from the beginning. His voice was made for singing, and has an Adam Levine quality to it that makes him all the more delicious.
Amazing sets, costumes and choreography perfectly compliment a stellar cast that all together contributes to making Kinky Boots the very best of Broadway. Do not miss out on your chance to see this first rate tour of a Broadway Blockbuster!!
Kinky Boots Plays Dallas at the Music Hall at Fair Park though April 9th. Tickets are $18.50-$120.00 and are available at http://www.dallassummermusicals.org/
I attended the show with some twenty LGBTQIA Teens between 12 and 19. Since the show began it's original Broadway run Lauper has used her platform to expose LGBTQIA youth to a behind the scenes look at the many opportunities available to them in the theater. She is continuing this tradition on the road through her True Colors Fund's “Raise You Up Community Youth Program”. More information on her programs can be found here: https://truecolorsfund.org/
The nearly six hour program presented by Lauper and Dallas Summer Musicals included back stage access, introductions to theater executives from marketing, Social Media Management, ticket sales and the head of DSM himself. All there to present what they do, how they got there and most importantly offer hope to these young people that their future is full of possibility.
In the coming weeks I will present a series of articles will give you the oportunity to peek behind the curtain of Laupers' outreach and the incredible programs available through Youth First a program of Resource Center of Dallas. More information on Youth First here: http://www.rcdallas.org/what-we-do/community/youth-first. The series will continue with a focus on individual program youth, who will get the chance to tell their story and how their lives have been impacted by the Resource Center program and Lauper's generosity.
Next week I will continue the series recounting my night at Kinky Boots with Youth First a Program of the Resource Center of Dallas and the amazing experience they were granted by Lauper, the cast and crew of Kinky Boots and the staff of the Dallas Summer Musicals.
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