The Sex is in the Heel
Honey, you can’t fake it. And let us just say, Kinky Boots fakes absolutely nothing. Let’s just get right into this high energy, high heeled masterpiece – winner of the 2013 Tony best musical.
Key cast: Billy Porter (STILL the original lead and Tony award winner) as Lola / Simon, Andy Kelso (originally Harry in the opening cast of Kinky Boots) as Charlie, and Jeanna de Wal (Heather in American Idiot – ew, that show) as Lauren
Theater: Al Hirschfeld Theatre, 302 W. 45th Street
Ticket price range: $65 – $180
Our rating: 5 stiletto-high stars
Our theater rating: 4 – decent sized theater of about 1,500 seats (could be larger considering how popular this show is), but feels spacious and a little old and gritty, just like Price & Sons shoe factory
On through: January 2015
Synopsis: “Winner of six Tony Awards including BEST MUSICAL, this inspirational story follows a struggling shoe factory owner who works to turn his business around with help from the most unlikely person. Together, these two become an unstoppable team, and find that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible… proving that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world.”
The nitty gritty – our thoughts on this show:
In the entire history of shows we’ve seen, it is almost impossible to find a show that manages to be so lively and fun, while also addressing some deeper, more serious issues like masculinity and embracing yourself. It’s just truly touching without being overkill on the sap and sentimentality. Let’s talk about story and cast.
First, the story is based on an LGBTQ classic film of the same name. Short version, the son of a shoe factory owner is forced into taking ownership of the factory – a role he isn’t so keen on. As the factory struggles to make ends meet, he realizes what they really need is a niche market. Enter Lola, the fantastic drag queen played by the to-die-for Billy Porter. The only rational and obvious choice is to manufacture heels and boots big and sturdy enough for a man to dress as a woman. That’s right, my friends. There are drag queens by the dozens in this show. Along the way, both the factory owner Charlie and Lola/Simon learn about themselves and others, and find a way to embrace who they are. Which all confirms why Cyndi Lauper was the obvious choice for songwriting for this show, am I right?
Anyway, the cast. First, Billy Porter is all you will ever need in life. We have NEVER seen a drag queen look that good in a white sparkling dress or flaming red, knee high stiletto boots. His voice is unique and exquisite, delivering the perfect kitschy queen when appropriate, but also crooning out the more emotional numbers. Opposite him as Charlie was Andy Kelso, who is a perfect match with his uptight appearance and controlled performance. Finally, Jeanna de Wal as Lauren just adds a much-needed layer of pure comedy – so awkward to watch that you almost want to look away.
The set and actual stage production is relatively simple, with a handful of numbers that are a little on the high-end side (anyone that can run on a treadmill in heels has our sincere appreciation and admiration). The plot is utterly relatable, in a way that may not seem so apparent at first. And ultimately, the musical numbers have such a dynamic range of emotion – from the oh-so-catchy and entertaining “The Sex is in the Heel,” to the more serious “Not My Father’s Son.” Last but not least, the finale is SO good that you will be on your feet, clapping and dancing and shouting your ass off. Everybody say yea, this show is fantastic. You do NOT want to miss this festival of fun.
Best seen with: Anyone with a serious appreciation for drag queens or, really, anyone that is absolutely fun and has no reservations about fun, dancing, clapping, and cheering in a show
Best food nearby: We went to Bourbon Street Bar and Grill, which had astonishing happy hour cocktails that were out of this world. Food portions were enormous and well-priced, and while not amazing, were still good. There are also a ton of Italian places nearby, all of which have very good reviews. But for a nice cocktail before you get your kinky boots on, we still vote Bourbon Street.
Best metro stop: 42nd Street-Port Authority (A,C,E), 49th Street (N,Q,R)
Best parking garage: Bright Management at 344 W. 45th Street is RIGHT by this theater, and is VERY well-priced (about $25)
That’s all for now. Check out the obligatory theater selfie below (Kristin with her beloved friend Nick), and stay tuned for our next review. In the next week or so, we’ll be posting photos of the cast that we took backstage.
Posted on May 12, 2014, in Review and tagged Billy Porter, broadway, Cyndi Lauper, Kinky Boots, musicals, NYC, theater, theater review, theater reviews, tony awards, tourism. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.