Review Roundup: KINKY BOOTS in Chicago - All the Reviews!
The World Premiere of Kinky Boots, the new musical brings together four-time Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein (Book) and Grammy Award-winning rock icon Cyndi Lauper (Music & Lyrics). Directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots is currently playing the Bank of America Theatre (18 West Monroe Street, Chicago, IL) through November 4, 2012, in advance of a Broadway opening.
For more information, visit www.BroadwayinChicago.com.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune: Aside from the lack of an opening number — Lauper will need to write something to replace the currently uninspired melange — Act 1 is in excellent shape, as tryouts go. But Act 2 hits serious problems... Along with Fierstein and Mitchell's warmth and conviction, they will propel this show to success, as long as the soles become solid and the heels made true. This is, of course, ideal thematic territory for Lauper, who has stood for such things her entire career and who clearly found much in this story to inspire her music — the ballads “Hold Me In Your Heart,” “I'm Not My Father's Son” and “So Long, Charlie,” which segues beautifully into a song called “The Soul of a Man,” are all potent, as are the danceable disco ditties “Sex Is in the Heel” and “Raise You Up/Just Be.” Along with Fierstein and Mitchell's warmth and conviction, they will propel this show to success, as long as the soles become solid and the heels made true.
Hedy Weiss, Sun-Times: While no one would mistake this new musical, which celebrated its pre-Broadway opening Wednesday night at Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre, as groundbreaking in any way, it is an ideally crafted, altogether feel-good show — something of a “La Cage aux Folles” for the recession-plagued, anti-bullying, “it WILL get better” generation. And its solid if predictable storytelling (Harvey Fierstein’s take on the popular little British film comedy of 2005), its accomplished and varied score (an impressive first Broadway effort by Cyndi Lauper, that petite paragon of pop, who has penned several numbers that are sure to become keepers), its conveyor belt-smooth flow (courtesy of director-choreographer Jerry Mitchell), and its strong, winningly genuine cast, all conjoin to make it an engaging entertainment.
Misha Davenport, BWW: Perhaps the biggest surprise is Lauper’s score. Unlike other recording artists who try their hands at writing a Broadway show and never seem to understand the medium of the Broadway musical, Lauper proves she is equally adept at crafting radio-ready, hook-heavy pop and dance songs the likes we’ve never heard in a Broadway show as well as traditional Broadway ballads, duets and ensemble numbers. “Sex is in the Heel” and “Raise You Up/Just Be” are infectious pop songs with beats that will get you up and moving. “Hold Me In Your Heart” and “I’m Not My Father’s Son,” are delivered with such honesty, they might have you reaching for the tissues.
Kris Vire, TimeOut Chicago: Director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell stages the show with admirable creativity; the first-act closer “Everybody Say Yeah” makes more dynamic use of the factory’s conveyor belts than an OK Go video. Porter, meanwhile, gives a powerhouse performance as Lola, channeling Whitney Houston in his stunning musical numbers. It’s a shame his character feels a bit sanitized in his nonmusical scenes opposite the factory workers and Charlie, as compared to Chiwetel Ejiofor’s more jagged Lola in the film, but that’s something the creative team can still work on. Appealing everyguy Sands and Annaleigh Ashford, as Charlie’s love interest, do fine work in comparatively thankless roles (Ashford comes delightfully close to derailing the whole show with her comic number “The History of Wrong Guys”). There’s refining yet to be done, but these Boots were made for strutting.
Michael Roberts, Showbiz Chicago: Kinky Boots has something unique going for it that will add to its success; that is Billy Porter...I would venture to say that Kinky Boots will do for Mr. Porter what Hello, Dolly did for Carol Channing, Funny Girl for Streisand; Phantom for Michael Crawford and Evita for Patti LuPone. This is will become a show and role that will be forever synonymous with Mr. Porter, and rightfully so...Alongside Mr. Porter is the equally engaging Stark Sands as Charlie Price. Though his character could stand a little more development in the second act, Sands has remarkable stage presence and chemistry with his co-star…The book for Kinky Boots is classic Harvey Fierstein, who always has the innate ability to create an environment where his characters can be bigger than life one minute, then intensely internal the next…The material at hand is perfect fodder for [Jerry] Mitchell to develop the environment to allow his actors to find their truth…A musical would be nothing without the music, and for this, Cyndi Lauper is a revelation...Not since Rent has there been a musical that is poised to have at least three numbers cross over to the pop charts.
Alan Bresloff, Around the Town Chicago: Get ready, Broadway! Another new musical is making waves in Chi-town and lucky New York gets another major musical, “Kinky Boots the Musical” based on the “cult” film of the same name written by Tim Firth and Geoff Deane, has been taken to a new level, one that will start a whole new class of followers, thanks to the creative minds of Harvey Fierstein (book) and Cyndi Lauper ( music and lyrics). This smashing, energetic re-telling of the story, sharply directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, is sure to set New York audiences “on their heels”...What makes a show truly effective, in particular, one with the energy of this script and music, is a cast that feels the pulse of the story and makes it all seem real...the entire cast of 32 is as solid as it gets- from start to finish, you cannot help but LOVE this new musical.
Jodie Jacobs, Examiner.com: “Kinky Boots,” a new musical from the pens of “Newsies” playwright Harvey Fierstein and Grammy and Emmy composer/Lyricist Cyndi Lauper ought to scoop up the Tony Awards when it arrives on Broadway next spring. After honing pacing, performances and scenes during previews the past two weeks, “Kinky Boots” looked like a winner that will be around a long time…Gorgeous costumes help. But it is Billy Porter as Lola, the drag queen, who makes the show work.