PLAYBILL PLAYLIST: Kinky Boots' Annaleigh Ashford and Celina Carvajal Pick Their Favorite "80s Girl Crush" Songs

By Michael Gioia
May 29, 2013

Annaleigh Ashford, a 2013 Tony Award nominee for her performance in Broadway's Kinky Boots, and her Kinky co-star Celina Carvajal belt out the music of 80s pop star and 2013 Tony nominee Cyndi Lauper weekly at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. Here, the duo pick their favorite "80s Girl Crush" songs as part of's Playbill Playlist series.

Based on the 2005 film of the same title, the 2013 Tony Award-nominated Best Musical has a new book by Tony winner Harvey Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy, La Cage aux Folles, Newsies) and music and lyrics by Grammy Award-winning "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and "True Colors" songwriter Lauper.

Here's how it's billed: "In Kinky Boots, Charlie Price (Sands) has suddenly inherited his father’s shoe factory, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. Trying to live up to his father’s legacy and save his family business, Charlie finds inspiration in the form of Lola (Porter). A fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos, Lola turns out to be the one person who can help Charlie become the man he’s meant to be. As they work to turn the factory around, this unlikely pair finds that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible… and discovers that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world." asked the show's leading ladies, Ashford and Carvajal, to pick their favorite "80s Girl Crush" songs — tunes by iconic women of the 80s whom they admire — and tell us why they made the list.

Kinky Boots received 13 Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Book, Best Direction, Best Choreography, Best Orchestrations, Best Costume Design, Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design, Best Sound Design, Best Actor (Stark Sands, Billy Porter) and Best Featured Actress (Ashford).

For more on the men of Kinky Boots, check out's Leading Men column with Sands and Porter.


Annaleigh Ashford: Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" It has become a feminist anthem across the globe. It is one of the best pop songs of all time, and you hear it on the radio all the time. And, Cyndi Lauper wrote it! Hello!!!

Annaleigh Ashford: Donna Summer's "On the Radio" This is one of my favorite Donna Summer hits that helped us leave behind the disco days of the 70s and usher in the 80s. I have a great live version of this song on my iPod. Donna Summer was one of the great songstresses of our time. I wish she were still with us.

Annaleigh Ashford: Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" When this song comes on you can't help but dance... with somebody. It's not only an 80s pop gem, but it also highlights the astounding vocal stylings of the brilliantly talented Whitney Houston. She was so special, and this song showed her off!

Annaleigh Ashford: Blondie's "Rapture" There is nothing better than Debbie Harry rapping. This song combines new wave, disco, hip hop, R&B and pop to create this classic 80s gem that reflects the merging of styles in art at the time. This song makes me want to wear neon in Miami with a piña colada. I don't really know why.

Annaleigh Ashford: Madonna's "Material Girl" The music video for this song is a tribute to Marilyn Monroe in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and aired on MTV during a time when MTV actually aired music videos. It's a classic girlie girl song and is an iconic representation of 80s Madonna.

Celina Carvajal: "Kiss Me Deadly" - Lita Ford These songs represent the start and end of a relationship with the wrong guy! From the first glance of the bad boy at a club…

Celina Carvajal: "I Hate Myself For Loving You" - Joan Jett To the first time you fall in love with the wrong guy…

Celina Carvajal: "Love is a Battlefield" - Pat Benatar To the turmoil in the relationship that's doomed…

Celina Carvajal: "It Must Have Been Love" – Roxette To the inevitable break-up…

Celina Carvajal: "She Bop" - Cyndi Lauper To being left to your own devices!