TDF Honors Kinky Boots and its Original Tony-winning Stars at One-Night-Event

Broadway News   TDF Honors Kinky Boots and its Original Tony-winning Stars at One-Night-Event
 
Tony winners Cyndi Lauper reunited with Kinky Boots’ Billy Porter, Stark Sands, Annaleigh Ashford and more as she introduced the benefit gala concert March 20.
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Billy Porter, Hal Luftig, Cyndi Lauper, Daryl Roth, Stark Sands, and Jerry Mitchell Joseph Marzullo/WENN

The Theatre Development Fund (TDF) honored Broadway’s Kinky Boots March 20 during a one-night-only benefit concert event. Last year, the organization recognized Thomas Schumacher and Disney Theatrical Group, and this year, TDF looked to Kinky Boots, its creators and its companies as beacons of the institution’s core values.

“We’re here because I think as everybody here knows about Kinky Boots, Kinky Boots is a show that celebrates all of the things we believe in,” TDF executive director Victoria Bailey said in her remarks. “It celebrates acceptance, it celebrates love, it celebrates openness and it celebrates the kind of volatility of art, and that’s what TDF is all about.” Ranging from autism-friendly performances to working with the Stage Doors mentorship program, Kinky Boots has collaborated with TDF in creating accessible theatre.

Kinky Boots lead producers Daryl Roth and Hal Luftig along with Tony-winning director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell and music director Will Van Dyke were honored with a TDF Honors Kinky Boots award in representation of all the artists working with the show.

The evening really kicked into gear when stars from the original, touring, and current companies united on the Al Hirschfeld Theatre stage in an unprecedented combination of casts and talent. The concert included performances from the show’s original Tony-winning Lola Billy Porter, Tony nominee Stark Sands and Ashford, original Angels Paul Canaan, Charlie Sutton, Nathan Peck, Joey Taranto, Kevin Smith Kirkwood, in addition to replacements from over the years including Todrick Hall, Andy Kelso, Jeanna de Wall, and a Broadway debut from TDF’s Stage Door students from Harvey Milk High School.

“I think they are imperative to not only helping cultivate the new era of the new generation of theatre, but the new era of the new generation of art,” Ashford said of TDF’s educational programs. “Especially this time in our world, where so much funding for the arts is being cut, we need to remind society how imperative art is to our culture and to a positive way of living.”

An audience auction led by current Kinky Boots cast members Natalie Joy Johnson, Jennifer Perry, and Ellyn Marie Marsh raised an additional $14,000 for TDF programs. Audience members walked away with everything from a Kinky Boots walk-on role to custom made kinky boots to a weekend getaway in L.A. with former Lola Wayne Brady.

Come May 7, Kinky Boots will host its first autism-friendly performance through TDF’s Autism Theatre Initiative (ATI).

To learn more or make a donation visit TDF.org.

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