BWW Review: KINKY BOOTS Kicks Butt at Providence Performing Arts Center
KINKY BOOTS, book by Harvey Fierstein (La Cage aux Folles and Torch Song Trilogy) and songs by Cindy Lauper and inspired by true events, is in Providence at the Performing Arts Center for a very short run. Blink and you'll miss it. The musical tells the story of Charlie Price (Lance Bordelon), who inherits a shoe factory from his father and forms an unlikely partnership with cabaret performer and /drag queen Lola (Jos N. Banks) to produce a line of high-heeled boots designed to withstand a man's heft and save the business. In the process, Charlie and Lola discover that they are not so different after all. . When was the last time you saw a Broadway show about sensitive, heroic businessmen? I have to admit that KINKY BOOTS had escaped my notice until the other night and that the audience and I had a really good time Friday night!
After its Broadway premiere in 2014,t he musical began its US tour in 2014, the production earned a season-high 13 nominations and 6 Tony wins, including best musical and best score for Lauper in her first outing as a Broadway songwriter, making her the first woman to win alone in that category. The musical's cast album premiered at number one on the Billboard Cast Albums Chart and number fifty-one on the Billboard 200chart. In 2016, it won three Laurence Olivier Awards, including Best Musical. Pretty good pedigree.
OK, so what's to like? The very best things about this show are the knock-down-drag-out production numbers at the end of each act. Combine some excellent vocals by the company with some even more inspired dancing/choreography et voila! I really do not know what to compare them to, but, believe me, they brought down the house. Also, this show is interestingly cast: many members of the ensemble, both men and women, looked like normal people who might shop in the plus size areas of their local department store. It made the whole show seem more realistic. I also liked The History of the Wrong Guys sung by Lauren(Sydney Patrick), Charlie's wannabe girlfriend in the first act.
So what didn't I like? Two songs, Not My father's Son sung by Lola and Charlie and Soul of a Man Soul of a Man are necessary to the story to make us feel for the central characters but left me a little cold. In fact, the second act was moving a little slowly before the big finish, Rise Up and Just Be. The show also has a boxing match that you could see coming from a mile away-KINY BOOTS telegraphed its punch.
But I quibble: I had a great time and judging the prolonged, raucous ovation at end, the rest of the audience did, too.
The show closes Sunday, so you have to act fast. Tickets are $86 -$39 and can be purchased by calling PPAC at 421 -2787 or online at ppacri.com. The theater is readily accessible.