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May 16, 2013

Kinky Boots

by Anne Paddock

Years ago I remember hearing the difference between a man and a woman is best exemplified by looking at Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. Both extraordinary dancers but Ginger did everything he did backwards and in high heels. So, when a new Broadway show – Kinky Boots – features seven men who dance in high heels as if they were born with stillettos on their man-sized feet, people take notice. But, Kinky Boots which recently opened on Broadway (April 4, 2013) is more than a dance performance; it’s a true story with spectacular music by Cyndi Lauper and a message for all of us about individual discovery, the love between a father and a son, and universal acceptance.

Charlie Price is a a young man who is abruptly called back to run his family’s shoe factory in Northampton, England after his father passes away. At first resistant to carry on the family tradition of making smart shoes akin to “your father’s shoes,” Charlie soon realizes his father has been keeping the factory afloat to keep his long-time employees on the payroll. The situation becomes dire because Charlie can no longer afford to carry the losses which leads him to reconsider the type of shoes the company manufacturers. Demand for well made boring shoes has waned so upon meeting Lola (whose given name is Simon), a cross dresser who has been depending on women’s cheaply constructed boots, Charlie, inspired by Lola, decides there is a market that is being underserved: flashy kinky boots that can hold the weight of a man’s body; and so together they set upon helping each other.

The show begins as most musicals do with an introduction to the main characters and the storyline but this musical quickly explodes into a performance that makes you want to get out of your seat and dance in the aisles. Kinky Boots is a high energy fun musical that never stops and although the story is relatively simple and compact, there is nothing predictable about this musical except the happy ending.

Kinky Boots opened at the Al Hirschfeld Theater in New York City and was recently nominated for 13 Tony awards – more than any other musical including one for Best Musical – an incredible feat and an acknowledgement of a truly special Broadway show that is destined to play before  live audiences for the next several years. A 2 hour 20 minute show, that includes one 15 minute intermission, Kinky Boots plays Tuesday through Saturday evenings and has matinees on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. For more information, go to the official website: www.kinkybootsthemusical.com.

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