Review Roundup: KINKY BOOTS Opens on Broadway - All the Reviews!
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 opens tonight, 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.
Inspired by a true story and based on the film, Kinky Boots features a book by Mr. Fierstein (La Cage, Torch Song Trilogy, Newsies) and a score from Ms. Lauper, in her theatrical debut. Mr. Mitchell (Hairspray, La Cage, Broadway Bares) has crafted a production described as bound to move, inspire and set audience's feet dancing.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Ben Brantley, The New York Times: "Kinky Boots," with a book by Harvey Fierstein and directed by Jerry Mitchell, is a reminder that you don't always have to be a masochist to enjoy being smashed by a steamroller...Unlike her more commercially savvy coeval Madonna, Ms. Lauper has held on to the same goofy image throughout her career, and, equally unlike Madonna, she has always seemed to sing from the heart. That sincerity comes through in "Kinky Boots"...The leading players here - notably Stark Sands, Billy Porter and Annaleigh Ashford - pick up on the trademark Lauper mix of sentimentality and eccentricity, but each makes it his or her own. Under Mr. Mitchell's precise and affectionate direction, they do what you want performers in musicals to do: they define specific characters by the way they sing and move.
Mark Kennedy, Associated Press: The show that opened Thursday at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre is so full of good will - did you expect anything less from Lauper or Fierstein? - that only a curmudgeon could walk out and not want to hug the crowds in Times Square, even the sketchy ones in cartoon costumes. True, the second half is almost completely unnecessary, the English accents are laughable and the footwear puns are relentless. But who cares? This is a big ol' sweet love story about sons, the families we make and red patent leather...the real star is Porter, who delivers a touching, sassy, nuanced performance, often in 8-inch heels. One character sums up his importance to this show by saying, "Whenever you leave a room, there's always a great big gaping gap." Amen.
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter: Who doesn't love Cyndi Lauper? A proudly idiosyncratic pop priestess since the early '80s, she's always been way more real than her contemporary, Madonna, let alone such 21st century descendants as Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj. Rocking the thrift-store chic and subjecting her hair to chemical torture, Lauper has made a career out of celebrating her extravagant individuality and everybody else's with the unpretentious chutzpah of a true-blue Queens girl. The fact that her infectious spirit shines through every number in her first Broadway musical score is unquestionably the chief asset of Kinky Boots, helping to elevate the show above its familiar template.
Elisabeth Vincentelli, NY Post: There are few things theatergoers love more than musicals about persistence and self-acceptance. Cyndi Lauper's taken those themes to heart, too, in songs such as "True Colors," so it's no surprise that her first score, "Kinky Boots," finds her at ease on Broadway. And since Lauper teamed up with book writer Harvey Fierstein, the man behind "La Cage aux Folles," rahrah empowerment gushes out of the likable but heavy-handed show as if from a broken pipe.