Kinky Boots Chicago previews?

Younger Brother
Broadway Star
joined:8/27/12
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/2/12 at 03:20am
Is anybody going to the 1st preview of "Kinky Boots" in Chicago tonight? Very excited to hear some reports back
RevolutionaryCostume
Featured Actor
joined:10/6/06
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/2/12 at 12:56pm
I'm going tonight. I'll probably tweet during intermission @Jacobonce . .

I'm very excited. It's obviously not selling very well, tickets for the show all week are on the half-priced website in town.

I can't believe how many empty seats were on Ticketmaster when I got my tickets yesterday.

There has been a huge media push in Chicago for this show. I really thought it would be harder to get a seat.

tgrabon2
Understudy
joined:6/18/08
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/2/12 at 05:31pm
I will also be there and was surprised by all the tickets that were available. The Addams Family Chicago preview left a bad memory for a lot of people myself included. Just a hunch. Also - a good deal people in Chicago that I talked to are not familiar with the Kinky Boots film. Several mentioned that they were looking forward to Big Fish next Spring.
I'm excited to see the show tonight and a huge fan of Cindy Lauper's music. I really enjoyed Legally Blonde and Jerry Mitchell's choreography through the years. Years ago I saw the Kinky Boots film...well...I saw half of it. I was bored and turned it off. Hopefully Harvey Fierstein kicked it up for the book.
timmmmmmmmy
inlovewithjerryherman
Broadway Legend
joined:2/19/05
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/2/12 at 05:36pm
Going tonight. Will report.
I'm an old show queen , and I'm not even 30.
Marlothom
Broadway Star
joined:4/13/04
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/2/12 at 07:13pm
Saw the final dress on Sunday - a lot of very good moments in this show and some great talent. Will be interested to see how it develops in the next month and what some of you have to say about it. I thought the score was EXTREMELY catchy. I hope ticket sales pick up through strong WOM. I think the lack of connection with the film and well, the title, may turn some people off.
"Observe how bravely I conceal this dreadful dreadful shame I feel."
RevolutionaryCostume
Featured Actor
joined:10/6/06
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/3/12 at 12:14am
I just got home from the show. I'll post a full review later, but for now here are some immediate thoughts. Cyndi Lauper, Harvey Fierstein, and Jerry Mitchell were all in attendance.


- The show started off rather slow to me. It picked up after Lola's numbers.

- Billy Porter is the weakest link in the show. When the attention is on him, he's on fire. When he is part of an ensemble (but still front and center) he seemed to be half-assing his way through choreography, looking bored and distracted.

- Cyndi Lauper's score is the best part of the show.

- Annaleigh Ashford gets a hilarious number in the middle of the first act about falling in love with Charley that really brought the house down. Besides that, she is horribly underutilized.

- While I enjoyed the show, the first 3/4 of it felt like they were trying to drag the show out as much as possible, and then they wrapped everything up in about 10 minutes at the very end.

They never explained if the factory's attempts were successful. It just sort of ends at the Milan fashion show. They never imply whether or not Charley and Lauren end up together.

- When the set was great, it was great. When it wasn't, it could be used for the Billy Elliot tour.

Updated On: 10/3/12 at 12:14 AM
41475750
Swing
joined:10/6/10
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/3/12 at 12:52am
It was a good first preview. Cyndi Lauper's music & lyrics worked for me. I would definitely get the cast album. The song "I'm Not My Father's Son" almost brought a tear to my eye. Billy Porter was my second favorite thing about the show. I've never seen him on stage and he OWNED it. Third favorite was the "broads" that worked in the factory. The casting agent found some crazy talented character actresses in the vein of Carol Burnett. The set was inventive with not one noticeable glitch. Good lighting. The first act was too long at 90 minutes. The second act needs work. I agree with RevolutionaryCostume that there was too many loose threads at the end. Please fix: 1) Charlie is not familiar with the factory but manages to cut, sew, design, and heel a pair of boots all on his own. Huh ? 2) Lola does a number at the drag club and a magician box is placed over one of the queens. Swords are stuck into the box. No magic. At the end the queen lifts or steps out of the box. Come on. Give me a little magic. 3) The dance numbers need to be bigger and more athletic. Conveyer belts/treadmills are used for one number but it needed more people on the treadmills and more over the top movements. 4) I enjoyed the costumes except Lola's nursing home dress. It was too Mother of the Bride-ish. I will be back during the final week to see how it all gels.
Its late and logging jnto the iPhone I created an additional Login. Sorry for the confusion. . tgrabon2
41475750
Swing
joined:10/6/10
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/3/12 at 01:01am

The Bank of America Theatre formerly The LaSalle Bank Theatre formerly The Shubert Theatre and originally called The Majestic Theatre. Ugh. Hard to keep straight.








Its late and logging jnto the iPhone I created an additional Login. Sorry for the confusion. . tgrabon2
Updated On: 10/3/12 at 01:01 AM
inlovewithjerryherman
Broadway Legend
joined:2/19/05
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/3/12 at 01:08am
Decent first preview. Girl needs some work, but there's a show in there.

The bad:
1) THE. SCORE. Lauper's score is the definition of derivative - everything is in 4/4, has a steady mid-tempo R&B beat, and the musical vocabulary of all of the characters is exactly the same. The orchestrations help on occasion, but not often. The score reminded me of a slightly lesser version of "Taboo" and that is not good.
2) Stark Sands - seems lost on the stage, wandering aimlessly during his big number "Soul of a Man" (which was ironically, one of Lauper's better songs). Off key quite often, cracked, lacks charm and personality. Not bad enough to be fired, but he needs serious work.
3) In general, the show plays to easy cliches, without the winking self-referential wit of "Hairspray" and "Legally Blonde". This plays like "The Full Monty" meets "The Pajama Game" meets "Billy Elliot" meets "La Cage Aux Folles", which sounds like a hootenanny - but it ain't. At times I was like "aww this reminds me of [insert aforementioned show] and I smiled, but then it didn't go any further, just sort of scratchig the surface.
4) The opening number and number immediately following (sung by Charley's friend in a bar) are both oddly somber, and set the show up to be something it isn't. Write a more energetic opening number, and cut the bar song.

The good:
1) Billy Porter is giving a star turn. His voice sounds better than it has in a LONG while, and with the time he has ahead of him to perfect and hone things, this could be a Tony-winning performance.
2) Annaleigh Ashford is comic brilliance. Overall, the book underuses her, but her big number "Charley" is probably one of the biggest highlights of the show. Nitpicky note - give her a big ending to this song....girl deserves a big, long, loud, honking note.
3) The book - no one can write cliches that seem fun and fresh like Fierstein, and he's on the right track. Just wish he had a better composer. Seriously, anyone could have written this score better than Cyndi. Someone call Dolly Parton...or even Andrew Lippa...at least their musical vocabulary fits this story a little better.
4) Act one finale is a hoot - dancing on conveyor belts!

Final grade at first preview: C

However, I do think there's a hit in this - if it can...

1) shed the serious tone at the start and get a new opening number
2) give Stark Sands some focus
3) give the musical direction just a little more pep
4) let Celina Carjaval and Annaleigh Ashford belt face a bit more

Ok that's all. whew.
I'm an old show queen , and I'm not even 30.
41475750
Swing
joined:10/6/10
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/3/12 at 01:11am

Stuff for sale.

Its late and logging jnto the iPhone I created an additional Login. Sorry for the confusion. . tgrabon2
Younger Brother
Broadway Star
joined:8/27/12
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/3/12 at 08:58am
I'm going to be a pain.. can someone post the understudies and musical numbers? Also, is the set a fixed set or does it change?
tgrabon2
Understudy
joined:6/18/08
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/3/12 at 10:11am

Younger Brother: hopefully you can read this.

timmmmmmmmy
tgrabon2
Understudy
joined:6/18/08
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/3/12 at 10:15am

timmmmmmmmy
tgrabon2
Understudy
joined:6/18/08
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/3/12 at 10:30am

Younger Brother: it's not a fixed set. It's modular with a center piece that rotates. All brick and steel. In the last scene the factory set is gone and in its place is a glossy set. It looks expen$ive. You definitely see the money on stage. Attached is a photo of the "curtain". The photo was taken from the lobby television.

timmmmmmmmy
Younger Brother
Broadway Star
joined:8/27/12
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/3/12 at 10:36am
Looks great thank you! :)
BroadwayBen
Leading Actor
joined:6/5/03
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/3/12 at 12:09pm
This sounds so promising! I may need to go to Chicago...
TheatreDiva90016
Broadway Legend
joined:4/10/04
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/3/12 at 12:52pm
Oh man! Where can I get one of those t shirts?!

I want to cover it in crystals!
"TheatreDiva90016 - another good reason to frequent these boards less."<<>> “I hesitate to give this line of discussion the validation it so desperately craves by perpetuating it, but the light from logic is getting further and further away with your every successive post.” <<>> -whatever2
ajh
Featured Actor
joined:5/6/11
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/4/12 at 08:39am
Clifton Oliver is Billy Porter's stand-by? Interesting. I seemed to be one of the few people who enjoyed him as Benny in In The Heights.
Menken Fan
Broadway Star
joined:6/2/03
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/6/12 at 02:54pm
Saw this on Thursday night (and will again in a few weeks). I agree with some of the areas for improvement, but overall thought it was fantastic! The score and Billy Porter are definitely the strong elements. Annaleigh is hysterical in her one big number and a few brief bits, but we need more of her. Yes, the ending needs some work. Some of the storylines never come to resolution, and the ending songs seem to be more of that Rise Up/Raise Me Up stuff that so many shows are resorting to in wrapping up the show, like Leap of Faith and Sister Act. Why do all the characters in the show, including the factory workers, show up at the Milan fashion show...in kinky boots? It ruins any kind of satisfying ending and takes you out of the story.

There are a couple of songs that should be cut or replaced, including "I Come to the Rescue". Also, I think "I Am Not My Father's Son" would be even better as a full-out duet between Charlie and Lola, rather than having Charlie just provide some back-up late in the song. Overall, I found Stark Sands to be fairly unimpressive. He doesn't seem to have enough presence on stage, and the show would benefit from better direction for him or a replacement. His big, emotional number "Soul of a Man" late in the show is almost embarrassingly over the top. But, to me, those are minor issues, and I was really pleased with the show, especially considering it was just the 3rd preview. I wish it much success and am very happy for Cyndi Lauper, who I have loved and who has been underappreciated forever.

Check out my radio station here Sho-Toonz Internet Radio.

Current Playlist = TONY NOMINEES. Featuring 2014 Tony nominated shows, performers and composers. Brilliant or ridiculous. Regularly updated. Let me know what you think. (tommy1@aol.com)
Updated On: 10/6/12 at 02:54 PM
JeanGudio
Stand-by
joined:6/9/12
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/6/12 at 06:07pm
Why is stark sands in it why not Jon Groff he would work he can dance why not him and he can also act.
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/6/12 at 06:20pm
Because he was too busy filming Boss at the time? Because his agent said he should focus more on TV and film? Because he didn't audition and they never asked him? Because he didn't wanna do it?
theaterkid1015
Broadway Legend
joined:6/15/06
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/6/12 at 06:27pm
Because he couldn't understand your message without commas.
Some people paint, some people sew, I meddle.
JeanGudio
Stand-by
joined:6/9/12
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/6/12 at 06:58pm
fine it was just an example. But someone else please should take over stark.
mpd4165
Stand-by
joined:8/6/09
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/7/12 at 01:02am
Just back from it and I tell you if anything, see this for Billy Porter. He is rocking Lola. Lauper's score I felt was appropriate and so catchy. I left the theater just feeling really happy, so if they really push the "feel good" show, I think it can be a big hit. Tonight's audience was a pretty strong standing ovation.
Owen22
Broadway Legend
joined:2/24/11
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/7/12 at 05:18pm
I saw "Kinky Boots" on Friday night. For a show in its fifth performance, Act One was pretty damned good. Lauper actually wrote theatre songs. Yes, not as acutely musically/leitmotif driven as a knowledgeable musical theatre writer would, but there are some interesting musical phrases and some nice lyrics. She and Harvey actually have made a stronger character than the Lauren of the film, she has a real point of view. In Act One that is. Act Two falls all to hell. I wouldn't have minded if Act One didn't have so much potential. Act Two was what I thought the show would be, I was surprised in the quality of the first act. Granted: fifth performance. They have SO much time to rewrite. But honestly, IMO, part of that is throwing out 3/4 of everything Current Act Two. SPOILERS: All of a sudden they make Charley a dick. As if anything he learned in the first act goes right out the window. In the film he is a bit of a sod to his workers, but they then realize, through the help of a gruff, learning homophobe, he really has the worker's backs (this sorta happens in the show but is so convoluted it doesn't really register) . So his being a bit of a drag is dropped. Fairly quickly. He's back to being Good Charley, (he was never really Bad Charley). Some other stuff happens. Then he has a scene with Lola where she shows up in a dress and, feeling emasculated because his fiance is at the same restaurant with another man, he lashes out at Lola and her transvestism. Its mean, but understandable. Now, in the musical, the scenes of him being a dick start with his oppressive nastiness to his workers and then immediately goes into nastiness to Lola--without ANY real motivation. A better actor than poor Stark Sands (who I'm sure will get better) could not have made those scenes work. And its all a build to Charley's meandering 11:00 number "The Soul of a Man" (I was so disinterested and embarrassed for the actor I wasn't even sure if the title might actually BE "The SOLE of a Man"...it was that bad). Its been noted that the wonderful Annaleigh Ashford disappears in Act Two, she and Charley never really have their get-together moment or song--instead we get a song (a bad one) wasted on a character NO ONE cares about (the fiance). And then there's the finale. In Milan. As noted, all credibility goes out the window, just to have the Workers all show up unexpectedly in Italy on the catwalk to wear the Kinky Boots of the title. Its so insulting to the form, as if the creators said, "its a musical, we don't need coherence to logic, people will buy it. Its a musical! Stupid things happen. Its a musical!" Why be so slavish to the film? Just make it London Fashion Week or something so realistically the Workers could be there (though I hated the runway walk, its SO ending-of-La Cage). You can tell the second act isn't working as Lauper totally forgets how to write good theatre songs, she's lost interest in the characters. Harvey seems lost as well. But again: Fifth performance. Hopefully the requisite standing ovation they received won't put the writers and Mitchell into a false sense of security that they've already concocted something wonderful. Cause most of Act Two is sh*t. It needs a complete re-hauling. Again, as noted, Billy Porter is giving the performance of his career. I've never like him much, certainly not as Belize, a similar character, in off-B'way's "Angels". But here he comes into his own and when the script and songs let him, he's pointed himself toward the Tony Award most drag characters seem to afford their actors.





Updated On: 10/7/12 at 05:18 PM
pc1145N2
Broadway Star
joined:5/28/07
Kinky Boots Chicago previews?
Posted: 10/7/12 at 05:21pm
I saw this on Saturday evening. The last 45 minutes was the best. I agree with most everything written here already. For me, the biggest negative was Stark Sands. Way too bland. By contrast Billy Porter literally steals the show from him. For the most part, I thought the score was less than memorable. I realized this was the first week of previews that's why I also have tickets for the last week of the run. I'll be curious to see what improvements are made.

Annaleigh Ashford is fantastic in a role that is too small.

On a side note, Bruce Villanch was sitting in my row taking notes all during the show. I'm assuming he's going to try and liven the show up a bit. It needs all the help it can get.

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