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Jujamcyn's Jordan Roth Comments on KINKY BOOTS Parade Controversy

Jujamcyn's Jordan Roth Comments on KINKY BOOTS Parade Controversy
Jordan Roth. Photo by Walter McBride.

In his column for The Huffington Post last night, Jujamcyn Theaters president Jordan Roth addressed several issues having to do with blinding ourselves to experiences and realities that we don't want to see.

Roth zeroed in on Kinky Boots' recent Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade performance, which prompted a backlash on Twitter. The responses ranged from supportive to downright nasty, but the most common reaction was from concerned parents who would now have to explain men in drag to their children.

"The problem was that the kids saw. So now they might understand," Roth wrote. "Our forefathers knew that their battle in the darkest days of AIDS was not against disease but against dismissal. 'Silence = Death.' They kept a constant vigil of scream so that there would be no choice but to hear, no choice but to see, so that there could ultimately be some chance to understand."

He continued: "And that's why we parade. Every year, at another parade for which I give thanks, the pride parade, come the inevitable questions: 'Why do they have to put it out there like that?' 'Why the leather, feathers, skin, whatever?' Why? To be seen. To demand to be seen. It's an act of defiance if you don't want to see me, but ultimately an act of generosity if seeing me helps you understand me. If we don't see, we'll never understand. Art might not give us sight, but it certainly gives us vision. And that's worth everything."

Read the post in full here.

On the day of this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Twitchy.com rounded up some of the many tweets about the performance, which BWW posted, including a massive outpouring of support and well-deserved kudos - as well as some rude tweets from parade-watchers.

The Twitter comments ranged from "Kinky Boots Musical! Drag Queens in The Macy's Day Thanksgiving Day Parade! Hells yes!" to the less accepting "Kinky Boots was a odd selection for the thanksgiving day parade. Maybe next year, we'll see Rocky Horror Picture Show on the parade route" and rude comments like "No more NBC for us today. Too much focus on performances. Kinky Boots? Really? Nice "family" programming...Not" and "Pretty sure I don't need @MacysDayParade lecturing my family about diversity via "Kinky Boots". Let the kids be kids."

Kinky Boots, from four-time Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein (book), Grammy Award-winning rock icon Cyndi Lauper (Music & Lyrics), Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell (Director & Choreographer), began preview performances on Broadway at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre (302 West 45th Street) on March 3, 2013 and opened April 4, 2013.

In Kinky Boots, Charlie Price (Sands) has suddenly inherited his father's shoe factory, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. Trying to live up to his father's legacy and save his family business, Charlie finds inspiration in the form of Lola (Porter). A fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos, Lola turns out to be the one person who can help Charlie become the man he's meant to be. As they work to turn the factory around, this unlikely pair finds that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible... and discovers that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world.

Jordan Roth, Broadway producer and now president of Jujamcyn Theaters, is also the founder/CEO of Culturalist, a new social network focused on discussion about anything and everything "culture".

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