The term for the title of the musical came during the early 1960s in the United Kingdom when high boots were the mainstream feminine fashion. The phrase has been called ambiguous as there are varying definitions of the word kinky. At the onset of the boots emerging into the general public, they were calf to knee length and pull on. The heels were anywhere between 4 to 5 inches and had pointed toes. The background of Kinky Boots is that of a British film unleashed to the public in 2005, about an English family that runs a shoe factory.
They hire a young boss, Charlie, in the hopes of avoiding bankruptcy, who in essence creates a new type of footwear specifically designed for drag queens. In addition to this, Charlie joins forces with a drag queen named Lola in an effort to save his inherited business. Ultimately, both Charlie and Lola come to find out that they have a lot in common, probably more than they realized, and they embark on a quest to ensure Charlie becomes the man that his father intended for him to be.
Initially, the production associated with the musical was to be at New 42nd Street Studios, a theatre located in the state of New York during the month of September of 2012. This would be the start of its pre Broadway stint showing in Bank of America Theatre, which is located in Chicago from the start of October to November 2012. Previews of the musical began in March of 2013 in Al Hirschfield Theatre and the musical started officially in April of 2013. The cast includes Annaleigh Ashford, Stark Sands as well as Billy Porter in terms of the Broadway show. The scenic design was crafted and created via David Rockwell, who created multiple design projects such as The Kodak Theatre, The Nokia Theatre in Times Square and The Walt Disney Family Museum in the city of San Francisco, California. Gregg Barnes known for designing costumes for both film and stage would make the costumes. Barnes is known for many Broadway musicals such as 1997's Side Show, 2007's Legally Blonde and the 2011 revival of Follies. It was decided that Jerry Mitchell would both direct as well as choreograph the musical.
Kinky Boots is known as a musical that for the 2012 to 2013 season for being inspired by books and/or movies. During the month of June of 2013, the show announced that it would have a US tour nationally starting in Smith Center for the Performing Arts which resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. The tour is scheduled to begin in September of 2014.
There are several musical numbers in the musical both in Act I as well as Act II. Act I has such songs as "The Land of Lola," "Step One," and "Everybody Say Yeah;" while Act II has less songs than Act I including "In This Corner," "The Soul of a Man" and "Hold Me in Your Heart." The musical uses an orchestra replete with 12 members who play a myriad of instruments including bass, drums, guitars, keyboards, percussion, trombone and trumpet as well as violin. There is also a cellist among the orchestra. The original album that was Cyndi Lauper produced, as well as Stephen Oremus and William Wittman. The Broadway recording was available in stores as of May 28, 2013. It would find its way at #1 in the Cast Albums Chart of the Billboard, a company that tabulates the popularity of both albums and songs within United States of America.
The Cast Of Kinky Boots
The cast associated with Kinky Boots is Stark Sands as Charlie Price, Billy Porter as Lola, Annaleigh Ashford as Lauren, Celina Carvajal as Nicola, several angels played by many different actors, Mr. Price played by Stephen Berger, Eugene Barry Hill who plays Simon Senior, Daniel Sherman as Don, Marcus Neville as George, Tory Ross as Pat, Andy Kelso as Harry, Jennifer Perry as Trish, John Jeffrey Martin as Richard Bailey, Adinah Alexander as the Milan Stage Manager, Sebastian Hedges Thomas as Young Charlie, and Marquise Neal as Young Lola. Stark Sands' theatre work includes playing 2nd Lieutenant Raleigh in 2007's Journey's End; playing Alex in A Seagull in the Hamptons; as the character, Clyde, in Bonnie & Clyde; in 2009's Twelfth Night as Sebastian; and in American Idiot as Tunny. Billy Porter has participated in the Broadway musicals, Grease! as Teen Angel; in Songs for a New World; in Radiant Baby; in Ghetto Superstar (The Man That I Am); in Topdog/Underdog; in Jesus Christ Superstar; in Dreamgirls and in Angels in America.
When it was released in October of 2012, Charlie Jones of Chicago Tribune stated that the musical was warm as well as likable and brassy. When it debuted to Broadway, the musical received a mixed quantity of reviews with Charles McNulty of Los Angeles Times stating that there were novice mistakes with the score that offers no compositional through line and that the book's author, Harvey Fierstein's vision was in the right place, but that the earnestness of the production is what eventually sinks it. McNulty added that the show as a commercial mess.
The New York Times' Ben Brantley stated that Lauper should be applauded for a heat seeker of a score and the eccentric trademark that she offers, while Gregg Barnes boots were scene stealers in big red colors. Although Brantley positively noted the costumes and score, he said that the script was sticky and full of clichés.
Prior to being in a Tonys haul, the musical had grossed over $1.4 million when it was playing at Al Hirschfield Theatre. The New York Times reported in early June 2013 that the show had received advanced sales of at least $10 million and that the majority of the performances have had only standing room only.
Nominations and Surprises of Kinky Boots
In 2013, the musical received several awards as well as nominations. In the Drama League Awards, both Billy Porter and Stark Sands were nominated for Distinguished Performance Award, while the musical took Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical. In the Outer Critics Circle Awards, there were several nominations including Gregg Barnes for Outstanding Costume Design (Play or Musical), Daniel Stewart Sherman for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical, Annaleigh Ashford for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical, and Jerry Mitchell for both Outstanding Director of a Musical and Outstanding Choreographer. Billy Porter would win for Outstanding Actor in a Musical.
The musical was nominated for several Tony Awards with Jerry Mitchell winning for Best Choreography, Stephen Oremus winning for Best Orchestrations, John Shivers winning for Best Sound Design of a Musical, Billy Porter winning for Best Actor in a Musical, Cyndi Lauper garnering Best Original Score and the musical taking Best Musical overall.The Tony Award win that the musical received was a shocker with other musicals such as Matilda and Lucky Guy who many thought would end up with the night's biggest award. Many thought that Matilda would receive the award given that it had received many Olivier Awards, which are the London equivalent of a Tony Award. That particular musical had also received rave reviews, more than any other musical of the Broadway season.
The principle motifs of the musical are that individuals can be who they want to be and that you can change the world when you change your mind. The musical has been noted as a must see with its knockout dancing and story of inspiration. On the website for the musical, there is a guide that discusses in detail about the characters of the film and how they are true to themselves. There are motivational sayings sprinkled throughout the pages such as celebrate you to elevate you and be yourself, everyone else is already taken.
The show guide is very interactive and engaging. The musical has and will inevitably continue to receive many different awards and distinctions because of its inspirational aspects that it encompasses. From the reviews, it appears as though all of the critics enjoyed the performances of both Porter and Sands, Porter in particular in some cases. The musical perhaps is a testament to a winning formula of dance, song, inspirational themes that allow audience viewers to connect to it very easily.
Genre: Broadway Shows
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