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Just saw it over the weekend

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jon5202
Featured Actor
joined:12/14/10
Chicago reviews of KINKY BOOTS
Posted: 10/18/12 at 04:57am
First reviews of Kinky Boots now on a pre-Broadway tryout in Chicago:

Chicago Tribune (Chris Jones):

http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/chi-kinky-boots-review-chicago,0,3717654.column

Chicago Sun Times (Hedy Weiss)

http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/15794191-452/feel-good-kinky-boots-is-a-step-in-the-billy-elliot-direction.html

Further reviews to follow.

Updated On: 10/19/12 at 04:57 AM
Owen22
Broadway Legend
joined:2/24/11
CHICAGO REVIEWS OF KINKY BOOTS
Posted: 10/18/12 at 08:19am
Chris Jones is a good critic (I'm still upset at him for not giving David Cromer's "Rent" the five stars it deserved, mainly cause it wasn't sung as well as the original--that was part of the point!) and I hope the creators listen to him.

Hedy Weiss...she might as well be critiquing for USA Today...
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jon5202
Featured Actor
joined:12/14/10
BroadwayBen
Leading Actor
joined:6/5/03
jon5202 Profile Photo
jon5202
Featured Actor
joined:12/14/10
CHICAGO REVIEWS OF KINKY BOOTS
Posted: 10/19/12 at 12:16am
More reviews out of Chicago:

http://www.theatreinchicago.com/review.php?playID=5688

Including the Sun Times (not listed here) we now have:

5 highly recommended

1 recommended

2 somewhat recommended

1 not recommended

Updated On: 10/19/12 at 12:16 AM
jon5202 Profile Photo
jon5202
Featured Actor
joined:12/14/10
CHICAGO REVIEWS OF KINKY BOOTS
Posted: 10/19/12 at 08:55am
Updated On: 10/19/12 at 08:55 AM
corkystclair2
Chorus Member
joined:9/25/10
CHICAGO REVIEWS OF KINKY BOOTS
Posted: 10/19/12 at 04:53pm
Does anyone else besides me have an issue with lumping non-traditional media (i.e. blog sites such as "Stage And Cinema") reviews in with professional reviewers? Why not just list off anything ever written about a show on any of these board sites if you're going to do that? Here's Jimmy-Bob's thoughts on the show...
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finebydesign
Broadway Legend
joined:7/17/07
CHICAGO REVIEWS OF KINKY BOOTS
Posted: 10/19/12 at 05:22pm
"Does anyone else besides me have an issue with lumping non-traditional media (i.e. blog sites such as "Stage And Cinema") reviews in with professional reviewers?"

No.
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Caring Soul
Understudy
joined:10/4/12
CHICAGO REVIEWS OF KINKY BOOTS
Posted: 10/21/12 at 01:03am


Updated On: 10/21/12 at 01:03 AM
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luvtheEmcee
Broadway Legend
joined:12/9/03
CHICAGO REVIEWS OF KINKY BOOTS
Posted: 10/21/12 at 11:53pm
Has anyone gotten rush tickets for this? Is it like in New York, where you have to line up early, etc.? The only other B'way in Chicago show I saw was a while ago. I still haven't seen it yet and I would like to, but I don't want to spend too much.

A work of art is an invitation to love.
Updated On: 10/21/12 at 11:53 PM
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GilmoreGirlO2
Broadway Star
joined:4/13/05
CHICAGO REVIEWS OF KINKY BOOTS
Posted: 10/26/12 at 11:37am
Emcee, I got student tickets last weekend ($25 per ticket, 2 per ID). I got it late in the day and they were second to last row on the side, limited view. I am used to limited view being you missed the far side of one side of the stage but this was you missed anything that occurred high than ten feet on the stage (which does happen often in the show), because the dress circle hangs so low. I don't know if there is a general rush, though.

As for the show, I enjoyed it. Although, I find that I enjoyed it while there, but, when telling fellow Chicago friends about the show, I have a hard time recommending they see it before go to Broadway. It’s a fun, entertaining show (that I could definitely see filling in a fourth spot in the “Best Musical” Tony category – more because it is a well put together show than on the content of the show).

The choreography is great. The songs are pretty good, although I felt like the majority of the songs could be put in one of two categories: sad, slow, and emotional or upbeat/disco. Also, putting two drag numbers back to back when we first meet Lola felt like I was watching two of the same song in a row. Cut the second song – I didn’t find it told us anything new or forwarded the plot in any way.

It’s hard for me to critique the show because I don’t want to get too serious or nit-picky on a show that I think achieves what it sets out to do: be fun and entertaining. But, it also seems to try to come with a few (fairly heavy-handed) messages and here is where I think the show fails. The whole “fight” between Lola and Don at the beginning of act 2 felt like a whole story in itself (beginning, middle, end) and then back to the main story right after. Charlie’s “blow up” (I don’t want to blatantly give too much away for those who haven’t seen it) felt like it came out of nowhere. I would have liked to see more hints of this earlier or just a rise of tension in him that finally breaks.

Perhaps the part I thought fell flat the most (SPOILERS in this paragraph!) is Lola’s father at the nursing home. I felt the “reveal” didn’t work – if that is going to happen, give us just a little bit more. However, I do think some of the issue was how Billy Porter played it (he seemed so casual about it, almost as if they had talked earlier in the day). And, in the same vein, bringing the little kids back out during the ending song was just slightly (and I hate using this word) cheesy.

I have issue with where the final song ends within the story (I want a little “update” if you will), the sudden change of many characters without much visible motivation (the fiancé, Charlie and Annaleigh’s character), and Lola herself (I just don’t like her). I thought Billy Porter was extremely disappointing (perhaps the reason I didn’t like Lola) but really enjoyed the rest of the cast.

And, now I have just done what I didn’t want to do (examine too closely a show that I think needs to be just be enjoyed for what it is). I think it will do well in New York (perhaps not a smash hit, but will have a decent run). The audience LOVED it and ate up every bit. It is an audience pleaser, for sure, and you can’t help but get swept up in the fun of it, despite its flaws (which is probably why I thought higher of the show while there as opposed to after the fact).
mpd4165
Stand-by
joined:8/6/09
CHICAGO REVIEWS OF KINKY BOOTS
Posted: 10/26/12 at 11:50am
Luvtheemcee - I did rush as well near the beginning of the run. I must have been super lucky because I went about 6 hours before the 8 pm curtain on a Saturday and got house right mid row G, a fantastic view for $25.
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Iheartchipotle
Swing
joined:1/13/11
Just saw it over the weekend
Posted: 10/29/12 at 01:19pm
While it was a great show, the first act really kinda fell flat; had a bit too much camp to really take the whole desperation of the situation seriously. The second act came to life; but there simply wasn't enough of it.

The songs: some great. some kinda...eh. The finales to both acts were pretty great, but spread some more interesting, and less cliched numbers throughout, and I think it would pay off a bit more.

Billy porter: First act, voice was GREAT. and he has a great voice - though, it seems he was starting to lose his voice in the second act. And it was VERY noticeable, even to neighboring audience member.

Stark Sands: Not enough characterization to really understand his character, but the guy has a VOICE!

Annaleigh stole the show for me; comic performance in a comedy that solely brought 75% of the laughs.

Set was good; but again, kinda blech. The inside of the show factory serves the entire show; there is a mini-set center stage that serves as office, bathroom, Lola's venue, and depending on angles and sides, was also the outside, edge of factory.

The finale set--in Milan--was handled very well. Kinded reminded me (maybe too much) of the Hairspray finale set, but this time with LED screens that light up with silhouettes of shoes. Simple during the fashion show, but it starts lighting up during Rise Up.

Needless to say, I think this do very well in NYC. The theme of acceptance is universal and will hit home to many. However, there is a lot of drag presence...too much maybe (And I'm a fan of drag shows) But it almost seemed like a ploy to just show a lot of drag numbers. I never saw Priscilla, but this would target that same demographic. (I'd guess 50% of audience was gay)

It will do well if they do a little more work; with that said, I'd still go see it again.

There's more than corn in Indiana.
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Mister Matt
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Just saw it over the weekend
Posted: 10/29/12 at 06:00pm
Saw the show last Saturday night (got rush tickets a couple of hours before curtain for $25). Fun show, but definitely needs work. Highlights were the drag chorus and Annaleigh Ashford. Billy Porter was okay, but his speaking voice and middle range were shot. He could belt his upper range beautiful, but the problem is his performance and his voiced are just WAY too forced. I'm not sure why he believes drag queens must ALWAYS SPEAK IN CAPITAL LETTERS, SOMETIMES IN BOLD, BUT ENDING EACH SENTENCE IN ITALICS. He just didn't ring true for 90% of his performance and his greatly affected speech patterns put everything he had to say at one level.

I actually enjoyed much of the staging with the exception of the magic show, which didn't seem relevant to anything, went on way too long, and was just too simplistic to garner much attention. It was like a scene that got cut from La Cage for being to cheap. I actually loved the boxing scene and saw a real spark of ingenuity and creativity I wish could have been applied as a stylistic choice throughout the show.

I thought Act 2 moved along at a better pace and seemed more cohesive, though the book fails at connecting its subplots. Ashford's character has a wonderful Act 1 number, yet the subplot fails to gain any traction from that point on until it is mysteriously resolved in the finale out of nowhere. A couple of the factory characters show great potential for a musical number/comedic scene to balance points of view, yet this never happens (with one character in particular who is a terrific scene stealer, yet her opinions and motives get muddied in a rather ugly way).

The score has some nice moments, but it's hampered with songs that end too abruptly and terrible orchestrations that don't support and highlight the melodies, rendering the music forgettable for much of the score.

That being said, I had a good time and the finales for both acts are loads of fun. I liked it much more than Priscilla, for whatever it's worth, but the show will need a lot more work if it wants to gain an audience in NYC. This was not a hot ticket in Chicago.

Oh, and I nearly walked right into Jerry Mitchell in the lobby. *sigh*
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
Updated On: 10/29/12 at 06:00 PM
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greensgreens
Stand-by
joined:10/14/09
Just saw it over the weekend
Posted: 10/30/12 at 10:41am
I agree about Billy's line readings being a bit forced. Some of them sounded *exactly* like Harvey (even almost emulating the voice), which leads me to believe that he may be coaching Billy a bit. Which certainly isn't a bad thing (Harvey's a master, so there couldn't be anyone better to emulate). But, I hope that Billy finds his footing and is able to go further with the character and find his own (speaking) voice.
andreamcrose
Swing
joined:11/1/12
Just saw it over the weekend
Posted: 11/1/12 at 02:15pm
While I haven't had the chance to see it in Chicago, I'm still really excited for it to come to NYC! I already got my tickets! http://bit.ly/KBPBill
mpd4165
Stand-by
joined:8/6/09
Just saw it over the weekend
Posted: 11/1/12 at 04:02pm
An article about changes already in place.
These 'Boots' are made for reworkin'
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GilmoreGirlO2
Broadway Star
joined:4/13/05
Just saw it over the weekend
Posted: 11/1/12 at 05:08pm
Any chance you could post the text of that article? I am not signed up, so I can't read it, but I would love to see what changes they are planning on making.
mpd4165
Stand-by
joined:8/6/09
Just saw it over the weekend
Posted: 11/1/12 at 06:09pm
Here you go.

"You would not exactly tag Cyndi Lauper as one of those old-school composers who work on a Broadway show, see a musical number that's not working, scurry back to their hotel room to stay up all night writing a new song by breakfast, and, that following evening, sit there surviving on coffee and cigarettes as it goes straight into the show. Stephen Sondheim or Jule Styne, back in the day, sure. But Lauper?

Well, if you are heading to the Bank of America Theatre to see the final weekend of the Chicago tryout of "Kinky Boots," the headed-to-Broadway musical adapted from the British movie of the same name, penned by Harvey Fierstein and composed by Lauper, you will be hearing a song that none of us heard on opening night.

"I Come to the Rescue," the Act 1 song for the character of Charlie Price, the owner of the family shoe business that gets saved by drag queens and their love of a nice, red, kinky boot, is now out of the show. In its place is a whole new Lauper number, "Step One." It was orchestrated last weekend. The first time it was heard in public was at Tuesday night's performance.

It would be overstating the romance to say that Lauper sat upstairs in the Hampton Inn with her No. 2 pencil (she actually went back to New York for a few days), but she was back in Chicago last weekend, working away. The new number, director Jerry Mitchell says, is a major change.

"I challenged Cyndi to come up with a new song," Mitchell said Tuesday, just before he watched audiences react to the new number for the first time. "The other song, metaphorically and lyrically, just wasn't taking me to where I wanted to go. Now I am hoping this song will make audiences love him right from the start. Every time I've asked Cyndi to kick it up a notch, she's always come through."

The new number is not the only change that has been made to "Kinky Boots." Fierstein has also been working on the script. Mitchell said. "Harvey came up with 37 new pages right after opening night. They've already gone in to the show."

Fierstein's new material involves the crucial Act 2 sequence when Charlie's life starts to unravel; it lacked clarity and specificity at the Chicago opening. Scenes now have been reordered and intensified.

As out-of-town Broadway tryouts go, "Kinky Boots" generally was regarded as being in very good creative shape by its Chicago opening. It's hard to get an accurate read on the box office; the producers have not reported their grosses in Chicago as they will on Broadway. The show has been discounting tickets (which is not unusual but also not, of course, true of "The Book of Mormon"). Still, readers report sitting in generally full houses, especially in the last two weeks.

Artistically speaking, it was clear on the Oct. 17 opening that the area that needed the most attention was its lead character, Charlie, whose trajectory through the story was being eclipsed by the ebullient transvestite Lola, played with great vivacity by Billy Porter. It wasn't so much the fault of the actor, Stark Sands; it was the way the show was structured. The need for the audience to invest in Charlie is what most of the changes have been trying to address — the new song, the new pages, the work with Sands himself.

"We're trying," said Mitchell, "to focus in on Charlie Price."

Mitchell said he also has "stuck a pin" in other areas of the show that need tweaking, including the boxing match (which already has been made to look different and now has a changed ending), the finale of the show and the "Beware the Black Widow" sequence. Much of that, he said, will have to wait until the show goes back into rehearsal (briefly) prior to its New York opening.

All in all, Mitchell says he is glad he went out of town with "Kinky Boots." And that's not just because it took his show, and its people, out of the eye of the East Coast storms.

"Chicago audiences," Mitchell said Tuesday, "really have been unbelievably truthful. We've gained such great information. It is going to help us be as a great as we possibly can be."

Information, especially corrective information, is what out-of-town tryouts are supposed to yield. But these days, they're a rarer breed. The revival of "Annie," which opens on Broadway next week, chose to open cold. So did "Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson," the new Broadway musical by Kathie Lee Gifford.

Up next for Chicago? "Big Fish" in the spring."
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JoeKv99
Broadway Legend
joined:12/27/04
Just saw it over the weekend
Posted: 11/2/12 at 08:21am
Not a review but a report on the changes made during the preview:
Well, if you are heading to the Bank of America Theatre to see the final weekend of the Chicago tryout of "Kinky Boots," the headed-to-Broadway musical adapted from the British movie of the same name, penned by Harvey Fierstein and composed by Lauper, you will be hearing a song that none of us heard on opening night.

"I Come to the Rescue," the Act 1 song for the character of Charlie Price, the owner of the family shoe business that gets saved by drag queens and their love of a nice, red, kinky boot, is now out of the show. In its place is a whole new Lauper number, "Step One." It was orchestrated last weekend. The first time it was heard in public was at Tuesday night's performance.
Tribune
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Owen22
Broadway Legend
joined:2/24/11
Just saw it over the weekend
Posted: 11/2/12 at 08:42am
OH god. "I Come to the Rescue" was one of the show's better songs! Though because of the book's confusion about his character it went nowhere, it imagined Charlie imagining himself as a superhero...which gave the character at least some original point of view...better to cut his awful 11:00 number (or at least give it a reason to exist).

Cutting that song doesn't attempt to do anything to help fix the let down and semi-awfulness of Act 2. So stupid.
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GilmoreGirlO2
Broadway Star
joined:4/13/05
Just saw it over the weekend
Posted: 11/2/12 at 11:57am
Thanks for posting the text of that. Glad to hear they are working on the things they are - intrigued to hear how/what the changes are as it moves to New York.

 
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