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

By Harry Haun
05 Apr 2013

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Billy Porter and Stark Sands
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN
Fierstein said he was familiar with the film when he was first approached about a musical version. "I really enjoyed the movie, then dismissed it," he said. "It wasn't until Jerry called me and said, 'This is my next project. I'd love you to write it.' I said, 'Okay, let me watch it again,' so I watched it again. Originally, I didn't see that it cried out to be a musical. Y'know, if you're not going to make it better — bring it to another level — then why bother? If you want somebody to just write down the script and put Interior and Exterior, get somebody else. I don't have time for that."

The second time around, he found something in 'Kinky Boots' that he could really address in a truly meaningful way. "What I like about the story is that it's very human. That's what I love. I don't write about the last ballgame of the World Series. I don't write about building the Empire State Building. I don't write about King Kong. I write about just what it's like being a human being. That's what interests me, and that's what I love about the show. These people are all very human. They're complex, they're confused, they're just trying — and that's why I love them."

It was Fierstein who had the out-of-the-box idea for Lauper to do the songs. He knocked, she answered, and they went into a happy working relationship, he playing Joan Crawford to her Christine, pretending to badger the songs out of her.

"Harvey was so great," she said. "He told me not to worry about anything — just do it. I said, 'What are the rules?' He said, 'There are no rules.' It was so freeing — nobody telling you, 'It has to be this'/'It has to be that' — it just had to propel the story, so I was able to look at the two different characters. It was such a delicious project because the two characters were so different that they could sing in totally different styles. Of course, they would. They speak differently, and they sing differently, and they do different kinds of music. That was the beginning for me."



Actually, truth to tell (and she told it), the Broadway beginning was before that. "I learned how to sing listening to my mother's Broadway records so I just took everything that I loved more than anything from those records and incorporated as much as I could. There was 'Nothing Like a Dame' in it, a little bit, too. I wanted to have something to represent all those songs that I learned from those records."

Looking around the star glitter in attendance, she got the idea for her next Broadway show: "I kept looking at these Broadway divas there tonight, thinking, 'Wouldn't it be great to have a story where all these women could be in it, and I could write a song for each one of their voices?' I'd study their voice and then write a song for how they'd like to sing it the best."

 Continued...