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BWW Blog: KINKY BOOTS at Baldwin Wallace – Much More than an Academic Premiere

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Baldwin Wallace was the first University to secure the rights for producing Kinky Boots in 2019. The school has a strong connection to the show since seven alumni from the Musical Theatre program were in the Broadway and National Tour casts. In this article, I'll share my experience with the show, and stay until the end for a very special interview! I promise you Broadway will very soon get to know this talent.

Every semester a group of Arts Management students takes part in the producing team of a musical. I had just recently arrived at BW, and I was lucky enough to join this team of talented people who I can now call my friends! We split into educational outreach and marketing for the show. This experience was my first opportunity to make what I want as a career: create marketing strategies for musicals.

BWW Blog: KINKY BOOTS at Baldwin Wallace –  Much More than an Academic Premiere
The producing team: Sarah McCord, Rachel Roberts,
Morgan Chilton, Daniel Ruffing,
Evan Smittle, and myself.
Chloe Opperman not pictured

I was part of the marketing team alongside Daniel Ruffing. We wanted to spread awareness of the show around campus, so we created the #BootsatBW campaign, where we took pictures of the iconic red boots in front of important buildings and posted them on social media. We shot and edited interview videos that boosted ticket sales, resulting in a sold-out run. Our work even reached Jujamcyn Theaters President, Jordan Roth, who has engaged in an Instagram post. The show's director and choreographer on Broadway Jerry Mitchell came to watch the show, as well as the alumni cast (Kyle Post, Zach Adkins, Corey Mach, Ryan Fielding Garrett, Shannon O'Boyle, Patty Lohr, and Jennifer Noble).

BWW Blog: KINKY BOOTS at Baldwin Wallace –  Much More than an Academic Premiere
Some of the pictures used in
our #BootsatBW campaign

The educational outreach team decorated the lobby with pictures on the historical background of the LGBT community of Cleveland and America. We hosted talkbacks after the performances with experts in the subjects of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We had a resources table and another one where people could register to vote. We also asked people to "fill the boot" answering the prompt: I let love shine by...

Check out the video at the bottom of the blog!

(Video Courtesy of @bwmusictheatre on Instagram. Edited by Pedro Cavallari)

Personally, I've learned so much from this experience. From the process of getting permission to record rehearsal footage, running approvals for videos, to setting up the tables at the lobby, seeing people engage with the activities the team created, tearing it off to put it back again the next night.

BWW Blog: KINKY BOOTS at Baldwin Wallace –  Much More than an Academic Premiere
The Kinky Boots ensemble with
Charlie H. Ray as Charlie Price.
Picture: Baldwin Wallace University

It was glamourous, a real happening for our small campus. (You can read BroadwayWorld's review here.) But more than that, Kinky Boots' strong message of love and acceptance was spread into our community. It is a show adapted from a 2005 movie, which opened on Broadway in 2013, had its run at BW in 2019, and is still extremely relevant in 2020. Even more relevant!

I leave you with the inspiring words of Nick Drake, who played Lola in the Lola cast. Nick has recently graduated from BW, so keep an eye out for him, because this one is going places.

BWW Blog: KINKY BOOTS at Baldwin Wallace –  Much More than an Academic Premiere

Lola and the Angels. From left to right:
Nick Cortazzo, Charles Mayhew Miller,
Mateus Cardoso, Nick Drake, Lee Price,
Nic Hermick, and Kyle Elliot.
Picture: Baldwin Wallace University

"I have wanted to be in the show ever since I saw Billy Porter win the Tony for it. I said to myself and to my friends in freshman year, "if I could do one show here, it would be Kinky Boots." Luckily, dreams come true. Lola is so special, Lola is so unapologetic, giving, nurturing and honestly, Wacky. I want to live my life like Lola every day. Lola is so aware and proud of who they are because they truly love themselves. I say they because Lola's pronouns in the show switch between he/him/his & she/her fluidly and it doesn't trigger Lola negative when one is used more than the other. I love this show and, more specifically, Lola. They are truly how everyone right now needs to live their lives. Fearlessly.

(...) I think the most important thing that people learned was two people with completely different backgrounds, with completely different experiences, had so many similarities.

With everything that is going on today: Kinky Boots is an example that even when someone is completely different from you if you just sit down and talk, you'll find so many similarities between each other that you would have never found out if you never were to try to understand them. Kinky Boots is the definition of acceptance and love. Accepting a person fully for who they are and giving that person unconditional love. That's how this world needs to start acting. (...) Kinky Boots taught me that we are all more alike than we think, and the labels we use today we're just tools to divide us from what we all really are-loving human beings."



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