The National Tour of "Kinky Boots"

  Although the New York production of Kinky Boots is nearing the end of its Broadway run, a touring production of the show is still making its way across North America. Despite the fact that the show has been playing for over 5 years, I never got around to seeing it until this past Saturday night, when the tour played The Plaza Theatre in El Paso, Texas. The show certainly did not disappoint and very firmly justified their six Tony Awards (including Best Musical) and long run on Broadway. With a score by Cyndi Lauper and a book by Harvey Fierstein, Kinky Boots (based on the 2005 film of the same name) is a wonderful show about a man named Charlie Price (Connor Allston) whose father is the owner of a shoe company, known as Price and Son. After his father's sudden passing, Charlie inherits the shoe factory and upon discovering that the shoe factory is starting to go under, Charlie struggles to keep the shoe factory alive. After befriending a drag queen (Lola, played by understudy, Julian Malone, at the performance I attended) being harassed on the street and receiving influence from one of the factory workers, Lauren (Karis Gallant), Charlie decides to take the factory in a new direction and begins manufacturing women's boots that can sustain themselves on male feet. Everyone at the factory soon goes on to begin preparations to showcase the new line of boots at a big fashion show in Milan. Along the way, Charlie and some of the other factory workers learn to accept Lola and other people who are like her, in addition to finding closure in their lives, where it is needed. The show is not only phenomenally written and performed, but it is incredibly uplifting and touching. Kinky Boots is quite possibly one of the best shows that I have ever seen.

  Cyndi Lauper's score is quite delectable. The music is catchy and the lyrics are wonderfully lively. This is one of very few shows that had me dancing in my seat and through the standing ovation during the curtain call. It's the type of score that I couldn't wait to listen too again after exiting the theatre. Harvey Fierstein's book gets the story across wonderfully. The story isn't extremely complex but the story of acceptance and seeing the some of the characters evolve (Don, played by James Fairchild, is a worker at the factory who is particularly in need of evolving) is truly beautiful.

Kenneth Mosley as Lola in the touring production of Kinky Boots. Photo: Matthew Murphy


  Jerry Mitchell's direction is masterfully recreated by D.B. Bonds for this national tour and his choreography is recreated flawlessly by Rusty Mowery. The way that the actors who play the Angels (drag queens) move in the show is extraordinary. During many of the show's dance sequences my jaw literally dropped down to the floor because of some of the dance moves that were being pulled off by these performers. The show is miraculously staged and executed by the entire creative team.

   The cast that was assembled for the national tour of Kinky Boots is filled with people who are ridiculously talented. Allston is excellent as Charlie Price, boasting a rich singing voice and likable persona. It was almost unbelievable (in a good way) when he had to take the character to a harsher place. Allston's songs were not only very character driven, but very well sung. The numbers, "Step One" and "Soul of a Man," were quite powerful and inspiring to watch.

   As previously mentioned, Julian Malone stepped in as Lola for the performance that I attended. Something wonderful about Malone's performance is that I actually didn't catch any of the understudy notices before the show, since there weren't any slips in the program and I never made my way to the cast board that would display such notices in the lobby. I only found out that Malone was on after the show while I was browsing (stalking people) on Instagram and came across one of the cast member's account, where they shared that Malone would be performing as Lola for both performances on the day that I saw the show. So for the entire performance, I thought I was watching Kenneth Mosley as Lola, which I feel speaks amazingly to Malone's performance.  Malone was absolutely vivacious as Lola, displaying a character that was fully fleshed out. I felt so much for the character and adored her poignant and heart-rending backstory. The duet that Malone shares with Allston ("Not My Father's Son") was gorgeously performed and heartbreaking. It hit the feelings in all of the right places.

Image result for kinky boots original cast
The original Broadway cast of Kinky Boots. Photo: Matthew Murphy
Although the character's romantic subplot is somewhat irrelevant to everything else that is occurring onstage (but it didn't bother me enough to deem it as completely pointless), I loved the frantic, Karis Gallant, as Lauren. Gallant's first act solo, "History of Wrong Guys," was hysterical. Special mention must also be given to Ashley North who is tenacious as Charlie's fiancée, Nicola, and to James Fairchild, whose character development as Don is amazing to watch. Finally, I was quite impressed with Shaun Nerney, who plays the role of Charlie's friend, Harry. Nerney sings a song called "Take What You Got" early in the first act and his voice was very pure and robust, making the song and its message of taking your shot and rewriting your plot a true highlight of the show.

  Gregg Barnes' costume design was scene stealing, as one would expect. The boots were perfect, of course, and each of the Angels looked absolutely fierce in every single one of their looks. David Rockwell's set was also designed quite nicely, as were Kenneth Posner's lighting design and John Shivers' sound design. The show is a spectacle, but not in the way you might expect. The sets are attractive and the lighting design is great, but the spectacle lies in Lauper's score, Mitchell's choreography and Barnes' costume design. The show doesn't need special effects to thrive, it is dazzling in its own very unique way.

   There is almost nothing wrong with Kinky Boots. The only complaint I have about the show is that I wish they had set up Charlie's character development in a more transparent way, but I caught up with his journey immediately and was completely blown away by the entire show. I am so upset that I am seeing the show for the first time this late in its run. I know I say this a lot, but this is a show that I need to return too. I hope it continues to tour for a long time so I could have many more opportunities to catch it. Kinky Boots is a FABULOUS show and I urge you to see it if you are in New York (where it is running until April 7) or if the touring production comes anywhere near you. It was a show that was both moving and a total party at the same time. That is a great accomplishment.

Image result for kinky boots broadway poster



KINKY BOOTS
Book by Harvey Fierstein
Music & Lyrics by Cyndi Lauper
Based on the Miramax Motion Picture, Kinky Boots, written by Geoff Deane and Tim Furth

For more information on the current national tour of Kinky Boots, please visit https://kinkybootsthetour.com/

At the time I saw the show, the cast of the national tour of Kinky Boots consisted of (in order of appearance):
Mr. Price- GEOFF DAVIN
Charlie Price- CONNOR ALLSTON
Nicola- ASHLEY NORTH
George- JAMES MAY
Don- JAMES FAIRCHILD
Lauren- KARIS GALLANT
Pat- KELSEE SWEIGARD
Harry- SHAUN NERNEY
Lola- KENNETH MOSLEY*
Angels- JORDAN ARCHIBALD, DEREK BRAZEAU, RYAN MICHAEL JAMES, ANDREW NORLEN, JACOB PAULSON, ERNEST TERRELLE WILLIAMS
Trish- REBECCA MASON-WYGAL
Richard Bailey- ANDREW POSTON
Simon Sr.- ANDREW MALONE
Milan Stage Manager- KIRBY LUNN
Ensemble- GEOFF DAVIN, STEPHEN FOSTER HARRIS, KIRBY LUNN, ANDREW MALONE, REBCCA MAYSON-WYGAL, MITCHELL MAYTAS, SHAUN NERNEY, ANDREW POSTON, KELSEE SWEIGARD, JENNY LIZ TAYLOR, KIM TRUNCALE

Dance Captain- CHRIS KANE
Assistant Dance Captain- DEREK BRAZAEU
Swings- CHRIS KANE, LYNDA DeFURIA, JULIAN MALONE

Performance Reviewed: February 9, 2019 (8:00 P.M.) 



   

   

  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Emergency Blog Post System: Red Room Studio's Production of "Legally Blonde: The Musical"

The National Tour of COME FROM AWAY

7 Days of "Les Miserables", Day 5: The 25th Anniversary Concert (2010)