Theater review by Adam Feldman. Al Hirschfeld Theatre (Broadway). Book by Harvey Fierstein. Music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper. Dir. Jerry Mitchell. With Stark Sands, Billy Porter, Annaleigh Ashford. 2hrs 20mins. One intermission.
[Note: The cast of Kinky Boots has changed since this review was first published. On November 20, Wayne Brady takes over the role of Lola.]
The kicky crowd-pleaser Kinky Boots is the very model of a modern major musical. Adapted from a 2005 English indie film, Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper’s fizzy pop tuner tells of Charlie (the capable Sands) and his Northampton footwear factory, Price & Son—a family business in danger of closing down. Hope arrives in the unlikely form of Lola (Porter), a self-possessed drag queen with ideas for a niche product line: knee-high, skin-tight, stiletto-heeled sheaths of ostentatious color, strong enough for a man who’s made up like a woman. (Gay style and consumer dollars to the rescue! The shoe must go on!) Directed with verve by Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots feels familiar at every step, down to its messages about individuality, community, pride and acceptance; it could have been cobbled together from parts of The Full Monty, Billy Elliot and Fierstein’s La Cage aux Folles, and it culminates in a feel-good finale so similar to Hairspray’s (which Mitchell choreographed) that it might as well be called “You Can’t Stop the Boot.”
Yet the musical holds up for the same reason Price & Son’s products do: solid craftsmanship and care. Lauper is a musical-theater natural, combining bright, infectious melodies with simple but effective lyrics. As each act progresses, the energy rises palpably, boosted by a heart-strong cast. Porter brings tough sass, wounded dignity and husky vocal authority to a part he has seemingly been training all his life to play; and as Charlie’s lovelorn underling, the sweetly tart Annaleigh Ashford—she of the perfectly timed comic take—adds another stolen show to her rap sheet. The overall effect is nigh irresistible; if you’ve been low about this season’s musicals, Kinky Boots may be just the thing to get you back on your feet.
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RECOMMENDED: Most stylish New Yorkers: Cyndi Lauper
|Venue name:||Al Hirschfeld Theatre||Contact:|
302 W 45th St
|Cross street:||at Eighth Ave|
|Transport:||Subway: A, C, E to 42nd St–Port Authority; N, Q, R, 42nd St S, 1, 2, 3, 7 to 42nd St–Times Sq|
Average User Rating
3.2 / 5
- 5 star:2
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- 1 star:2
I really enjoyed the show featuring Wayne Brady. A great score calls for a phenomenal singer that can belt the music, this was not the case for Wayne. Although I have to admit that he executed the choreography flawlessly.
I had heard great things about this show so I had my hopes up, but unfortunately was not impressed. Lackluster plot, and the music was bad. I wanted to walk out mid show. Ranked among my least favorite Broadway shows right by Spiderman.
The creators, cast, and crew have a winner. We laughed and cried-there are poignant moments. It's a great show. The only disappointment is when the show ends. We wanted more.
Saw Kinky Boots with a bunch of friends while it was still in previews and we all adored this musical. The audience loved it, went quite wild in fact. Porter and Sands do a great job carrying the show, and Annaleigh Ashford is indeed a standout -- completely charming with great comedic timing. All-around entertaining, with crowd-pleasing music, energetic song-and-dance numbers, and a lovely message to boot. (no pun intended, no really)