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

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05 Apr 2013

Celina Carvajal
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Stephen Berger, as the owner of the factory, doesn't live beyond the opening number, expiring as soon as he explains to his young son what "The Most Beautiful Thing" in the world is (shoes). "If my character didn't die, there'd be no show," he reasoned, "but I come back as a factory worker and a crossdresser. I'm hiding in the back the whole show — in big glasses and a hat. I'm hard to spot, but I'm there."

The shining moment for Adinah Alexander is fleeting but effective — an aggressively funny bit as a stage manager in Milan, where the shoes have been sent to be showcased. "It's an incredible company and piece," said Alexander. "I'm really proud to be a part of something so beautiful and joyful, with such a great message."

Celina Carnajal is Sands' self-centered and controlling fiancée — a deadly combo that makes her the odd woman out when Ashford enters the picture. The actress is comfortable with that: "I'm happy to be the one no one likes — also happy to support Billy and Stark in the story they have to tell. I love to share the stage with them."

Costumer Gregg Barnes, who took Tonys for draping The Drowsy Chaperone and Follies, designed the kinky boots as well as the costumes. "My story with the show parallels the story of the two leads. They're trying to design a boot that has a sexy, stiletto heel that a man can dance in and not break the heel. Of course, I have the same problem — maybe even more so because a lot of time the boots they made in the real factory were more for posing and strutting than just doing club-dancing. We have the A-list Broadway dancers dancing in these boots so there are certain requirements that have to do with function that I can't ignore. I can't just do wherever a flight of fancy takes me, so the art part of it comes after the function part of it."

Stark Sands
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

He found director-choreographer Mitchell to be a terrific collaborator. "In fact, more than most directors, he really brings so much to the table. He will tear things out of magazines, things that inspire him, and will give them to me every time we meet."

At one point in the evening, Daryl Roth was the barefoot producer, holding the new silver slippers she'd bought for the occasion in her hand. "They were hurting my feet," said the lead producer of Kinky Boots. This project, six years in the development, began, as it should (but rarely does), with the lead producer.

"I saw it at Sundance at a screening in 2006 — it took me by surprise," she admitted. "At the time, I was on the board there and seeing a lot of films. When I saw Kinky Boots, my heart started pounding, and I said, 'Okay, this has to be a musical,' so I optioned it and started looking around for a partner to produce it with."

Enter Hal Luftig, who had seen the flick in London and already sensed (correctly) a cult for it forming. He thought a musical version was a capital idea (pun intended). "The story had huge heart, and it touched on all those great things that a musical should have," he explained. "It should have great characters. It should have an arc to it. You should have a character who starts in one place, and, at the end of the show — at the end of his journey — not only has he learned things about himself, but he has taught others things about themselves. This story had all of those markings."

"To carry Hal's thought a step further," Roth injected, "that is what we hope will be the effect on the audience — that people will get to know these people and take to heart their journey and think about it for themselves — accepting other people."

Check out highlights from Kinky Boots!

 



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