PLAYBILL ON OPENING NIGHT: Kinky Boots; Some Girls Just Wanna Give Fun

By Harry Haun
05 Apr 2013

Billy Porter; guests Steve Kazee, Liza Minnelli and Victor Garber
Billy Porter; guests Steve Kazee, Liza Minnelli and Victor Garber
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Meet the first-nighters at the Broadway opening of the new Cyndi Lauper-Harvey Fierstein musical Kinky Boots.

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Powered by a rollicking Cyndi Lauper score, Kinky Boots rolled off the assembly line at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre April 4 and — I swear! — started dancing of their own accord before a crowd of hardcases who'd melted to malleable putty by the finale.

There wasn't dancing in the aisle, but the thought was certainly there, and so too was the insistent beat — a hard-driving, hypnotic, audience-winning throb that pulls us in. It's a real Broadway score — only by way of Cyndi Lauper, who hits all the right notes (melodic, catchy, character-driven, ridiculously varied) her first time at bat.



The subject of her debuting score came from a seven-year-old British film sleeper, which, in turn, came from a real-life incident about a young man (here, Stark Sands) who inherits his father's failing shoe factory and saves it by altering the product a tad. Instead of making "a range of shoes for men," he elects to make "shoes for a range of men," thus widening the market to drag queens, transvestites and some boys who just wanna have fun. And who better to be the architect of this grand new design, he reasons, than a practicing drag queen (Billy Porter)? Conflict ensues.

On her first opening night, Lauper — in a typically wild-haired 'do ("a multi-colored explosion," one observer called it) — seemed like little girl lost, a stranger in a strange land, reserving judgment until she got her bearings — if she got her bearings.

It hadn't happened by show's end when she was led on stage with her book writer Harvey Fierstein, her director-choreographer Jerry Mitchell and her indispensible orchestrator Stephen Oremus to receive the audience's jubilant blessing.

The mist seemed to be lifting a little for her at the after-party, which was held a convenient block away in one of those cavernous ballrooms at the Marriott Marquis, bathed in rose-colored lighting with a bowl of roses at every table. (Red is the show's color.)

 Continued...