Kinky Boots: Al Hirschfeld Theatre NYC

Who knew the saucy girl from Queens who blew into the MTV scene of the 80s would decades later join with one of the multi-talented artists from that era to create a delightful Broadway musical smash?

I would not have bet on either Cyndi Lauper or Harvey Fierstein in the foregoing scenario, but the results decades later are a delight.

Kinky Boots tells the story of a straight laced son who inherits his father’s old line shoe company. When faced with cheaper imports, in a last ditch effort to save the company he turns to the eponymous footwear as a solution. Charlie is now ably played by Aaron C. Finley as the son who tried to escape the small town pull to stay put, only to find love and happiness there by the end of the show.

Andy Kelso (c)Matthew Murphy

Andy Kelso (c)Matthew Murphy

His opposite is Lola, a drag queen who shows Charlie and many in the shoe factory a happier yet more complex view on life. With literally big shoes to fill, Alan Mingo Jr. has many show-stopping moments as Lola, balancing verve and vulnerability.

Alan Mingo Jr. (c)Matthew Murphy

Alan Mingo Jr. (c)Matthew Murphy

The rest if the cast is strong with Lauren (played by stand-in Mia Gentle) as the likely stage presence of Lauper. Gentle’s solo turn on “The History of Wrong Guys” toward the close of the first act is tremendous.

The British setting is reminiscent of prior gender bending productions like “The Full Monty” and “Billy Elliott.” The stage (design by David Rockwell) nimbly evokes settings ranging from the shoe factory to a pub to an Italian fashion runway. Fierstein’s book is replete with laughs. But it is Lauper’s versatility with the music and lyrics that keeps the locomotive of the production running quickly on the rails. In 2013 she won the Tony Award for Best Original Score for this composition, making her the first woman to win the category by herself.

Kinky Boots continues to run at near capacity on Broadway as has already hit the road on a national tour.

Jerry Mitchell, Harvey Fierstein, and Cyndi Lauper. Photo by Gavin Bond.

Jerry Mitchell, Harvey Fierstein, and Cyndi Lauper. Photo by Gavin Bond.

 

 


Brad Auerbach has been covering the media, entertainment and technology scene for many years. He has written for Time Out London, Village Voice, LA Weekly and once upon a time won a New York State College Journalism Award.

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