To quote one of my favorite songs of all time, "they say the neon lights are bright on Broadway." And this season, no lights will glow brighter than those at Kinky Boots, the new musical that just opened at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre last night.
Kinky Boots is based on the 2005 movie of the same name, and it tells the tale of an English shoe factory facing its demise against the new wave of cheap imported shoes. Along comes a fabulous drag queen named Lola who breathes new life (and love, and compassion) into the factory as well as its employees.
I had the pleasure of working with one of the producers of Kinky Boots and hosting some of the area's top lifestyle bloggers at a preview performance of the show, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to do so. It comes full circle for me, as I did some work for the New York premiere of the film Kinky Boots way back then, and I always had a soft spot for its sweet, uplifting, based-on-a-true-story story.
With its book by Tony-winner Harvey Fierstein and music by the one-and-only Cyndi Lauper, the Broadway production of Kinky Boots kicks the story into high gear with lots of glitter and glam. The performances by the whole cast are outstanding, especially the leads Billy Porter (as Lola/Simon) and Stark Sands (as Charlie). Supporting actress Annaleigh Ashford nearly steals the show as factory worker/love interest Lauren; her humorous-yet-too-true song, "The History of Wrong Guys," could become an anthem for single ladies everywhere.
If Billy Porter does not get a Tony nomination for his breathtaking, star-making performance as Lola, I will eat my Manolos! (Well, Converse Chuck Taylors in my case, but you know what I'm saying.) He is absolutely divine in this complicated role, playing both the bold, fiery Lola and the vulnerable Simon with passion and grace. He is simply mesmerizing in his true diva moment, channeling the late Whitney Houston during the haunting, ethereal "Hold Me in Your Heart."
The show will make you laugh, make you cry, make you dance, and make you FEEL. Kinky Boots is a size 14 platform stiletto full of fun, and it's a perfect fit for anyone who adores a great Broadway musical. It's terrific for a Moms' Night Out or date night. There's a great variety of musical styles, from pop to disco to rock and more, and the show incorporates important messages about bullying, tolerance, and the relationships between fathers and sons, so there really is something for everyone.
All in all, this Mommy kicks two enthusiastic heels up for Kinky Boots!
Jennifer Niederhoffer is the founder of Impress Media, an independent lifestyle & entertainment public relations and editorial services firm. You can follow her on twitter @impressmedia or @themommysreview.