Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content
Oscars 2017
Everything you need to knowDon't Miss It

Article

Kinky Boots

Posted on

KINKY BOOTS Kick up your high heels for Cyndi Lauper's new musical and its infectious pop score (Billy Porter, in star-making role as drag queen…
Matthew Murphy

Kinky Boots

type:
Stage
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
04/04/13
performer:
Annaleigh Ashford, Billy Porter, Stark Sands
director:
Jerry Mitchell
author:
5206, 3527

We gave it a B+

Sometimes audiences just wanna have fun. And you’d be a heel not to have fun at Kinky Boots, a new musical based on the 2005 British indie film about an unlikely bromance between a young man who inherits his family’s failing shoe business and the drag queen who, in her words, ”would give my left tit for a shoe that could stand up to me.” One cause for celebration is the infectious Top 40-ish score by ’80s pop star Cyndi Lauper. Another is Billy Porter, who portrays drag queen Lola with enough sequined swagger to make RuPaul look like a wallflower.

Yes, the story tends to flag when the focus shifts to the reluctant shoemaker, Charlie, played by the sweet-voiced Stark Sands (American Idiot) with boy-next-door winsomeness. Charlie’s saddled with a too-obviously-unsuitable fiancée (Celina Carvajal) and a factory love interest (Annaleigh Ashford, who nails her hilarious first-act solo, ”The History of Wrong Guys”). There’s even a working-class bloke (Daniel Stewart Sherman) who must learn an after-school-special-worthy lesson in tolerance by the final curtain. Like the script, by Broadway veteran Harvey Fierstein (Newsies), director-choreographer Jerry Mitchell’s production isn’t perfect — the cast’s British accents are as wobbly as an elephant in stilettos.

Whenever Porter is on stage, though, he elevates a musical that might otherwise seem like a club-ready mash-up of La Cage aux Folles, The Full Monty, Billy Elliot, and Cabaret. Porter displays remarkable vocal versatility, making showstoppers out of three very different but equally catchy Lauper tunes: the disco song ”Sex Is in the Heel,” the affecting ballad ”I’m Not My Father’s Son,” and the Whitney Houston-like anthem ”Hold Me in Your Heart.” Thanks to Porter’s star-making turn, Kinky Boots delivers some pumps-up kicks. B+

(Tickets: Telecharge.com or 800-432-7250)

Comments