Confessions of a Teenage Theater Geek - Kinky Boots

All good blogs must come to an end. *sniffle* Just thinking about how this is my last blog makes me feel kind of like this guy:

But let’s not focus on the sad. You came here to read about a show and a show blog is what you’ll get. Naturally, the perfect choice for my last Broadway blog is this year’s Tony winner for “Best Musical,” Kinky Boots.

Kinky Boots is the story of a young man named Charlie who inherits his late father's struggling shoe factory. His only hope of saving the business is to come up with a new type of shoe with a very specific niche market that is totally original and no one else manufactures. Easier said than done.

Help comes along in the form of a fabulous drag queen named Lola, who needs some sexy-licious boots with stiletto heels that can support a man’s body weight. Now of course, you can’t have a show about drag queens without a moral.

1017343_536051466458111_146781067_nToday’s show is brought to you by the letter K, the number 6, and the lesson…ACCEPT PEOPLE FOR WHO THEY ARE! YAY!!!

I am definitely not opposed to a good moral at the end of a story, but honestly I have a few complaints. The moral of acceptance wasn’t the cherry on top of this story – instead it was the ice cream, the hot fudge, the whipped cream, AND the sprinkles. This show was so heavily focused on the lesson that it felt entirely overwhelming and extremely cliché.

Another aspect of the musical that completely missed the mark was the London setting. Why was it necessary to set the story in England? There was nothing geographically specific that would force the show to be set in a different country, and it truthfully became so distracting. American actors forcing British accents are always a risky idea, and when the accents sound absurd and inaccurate, it completely takes focus away from the story.

Unfortunately, I have to keep going on the negatives for a minute. The actor who played Charlie, Stark Sands, originated the role of Tunny in the Broadway production of American Idiot. When I saw that show, I thought he was absolutely phenomenal. He had so much emotion and a beautiful voice that really shone through. Then that all died when he took this role.

564475_495993577130567_1825613611_n

Charlie is such a boring, undesirable role. He’s basically an a**hole for the entire show, is not that funny, and is pretty forgettable. Thank God he was saved by his powerful solo in the middle of Act 2. That solo reminded me why I loved him so much in the first place. His voice really is spectacular, and aside from his awkward twitchy movements (which were extremely confusing), this song proved his worth as a leading man.

Drag queen royalty

Drag queen royalty

Speaking of leading men, the real star of this show was “Best Leading Actor” Tony winner Billy Porter. Porter played the vivacious drag queen Lola, and let me tell you – he danced around in sky-high heels better than any woman I’ve ever seen.

I also have a confession to make. I freakin’ LOVE drag queens.

I think they’re so totally fabulous in every possible way, and this show completely proved my point. Porter’s portrayal of Lola was inspiring, emotional, and so fun and exciting. He and his posse of drag queens stole every single scene they were in. The most jaw-dropping moment was Porter’s Whitney Houston-esque ballad. He stood center stage in a stunning yellow gown with just a single spotlight illuminating every last emotion on his face. It was absolutely breathtaking. He was excellent throughout the whole show, but that song truly cemented why he won the award for “Best Actor.”

Another notable performance was that of Annaleigh Ashford. She plays Lauren, the shoe factory worker who has a pretty huge crush on her boss, Charlie. She only gets one solo song, entitled “The History of Wrong Guys,” about – well, her terrible romantic history.

She is utterly hilarious. She’s got a crazy character voice that totally works for her, and priceless facial expressions and physical quirks that had me rocking back in my seat with laughter.

269481_423238141072778_533643202_nUltimately, other than those two amazing performances, this show was a pretty big disappointment. The book was written by the incredible Harvey Fierstein (who originated the role of Edna Turnblad in Hairspray) and the music was written and composed by Cyndi Lauper. Remember the song “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun?” Yeah, that Cyndi Lauper.

With such a promising production team, I expected outstanding things from this show, but it really failed to deliver. The music was alright but most of it was a bit kitschy. As I said before, the story also seemed laden in cliché, which really soured its potential. I still stand by my previous opinion that Matilda should have won “Best Musical” this year, but unfortunately I am not in charge of the Tony’s voting committee (a girl can dream).

That’s all for this summer! The curtain must fall on this season’s blog, but you never know – a revival may be in my future!

Kinky Boots is currently playing at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on Broadway.

Images via Facebook.

Like what you see? Join The Gavel here!

Comments

Samantha Costanza