Tony Winner Billy Porter Extends Kinky Boots Contract; Stark Sands and Annaleigh Ashford to Depart

By Adam Hetrick
December 4, 2013

Tony Award winner Billy Porter has extended his run with the Tony-winning hit musical Kinky Boots, while Tony-nominated co-stars Stark Sands and Annaleigh Ashford will depart the musical in early 2014.

Both Sands and Ashford were Tony-nominated for their performances in the Cyndi Lauper-Harvey Fierstein musical that opened to acclaim April 4 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. Sands will play his final performance Jan. 26, 2014, while Ashford will depart in March to film the next season of the Showtime series "Masters of Sex."

Porter, who stars as outgrageous drag performer Lola, will remain with Kinky Boots at least through July 14, according to representatives. He earned a Tony Award for his performance. It was also announced that actresses Natalie Joy Johnson (Silence!, Legally Blonde) and newcomer Abby Mueller will join the Broadway cast Dec. 23.

The Tony-winning hit, which celebrates themes of acceptance and unity, recently received negative criticism following a performance on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Read more about it, and the response from Tony winner Fierstein, here.

Based on the 2005 film of the same title, the Northampton, U.K.-set musical has a new book by Tony winner Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy, La Cage aux Folles, Newsies) and a score by Grammy and Tony Award-winning "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" hit-maker and "True Colors" songwriter Lauper.

Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell (2004's La Cage aux Folles, Legally Blonde, Catch Me If You Can), who created the high-energy dances that sent audiences and cast members into a frenzy during Hairspray, directs and choreographs Kinky Boots, which is bedazzled with a series of show-stopping numbers by Porter and a bevy of drag performers.

In addition to taking Best Musical and Tony wins for Lauper (Best Score), Mitchell (Best Choreography) and Porter (Best Actor), Kinky Boots also saw awards to go Stephen Oremus (Orchestrations) and John Shivers (Sound Design). 

The current cast of Kinky Boots features Lena Hall, Daniel Stewart Sherman, Marcus Neville, Paul Canaan, Kevin Smith Kirkwood, Kyle Taylor Parker, Kyle Post, Charlie Sutton, Joey Taranto, Andy Kelso, Adinah Alexander, Douglas Baldeo, Eugene Barry-Hill, Stephen Berger, Sandra DeNise, Jonah Halperin, Jaden Jordan, Eric Leviton, Ellyn Marie Marsh, John Jeffrey Martin, Nathan Peck, Robert Pendilla, Jennifer Perry, Tory Ross, Lucia Spina, Sebastian Hedges Thomas, Stephen Tewksbury, Timothy Ware and Cortney Wolfson.

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."

Musical supervision, arrangements and orchestrations for Kinky Boots are by Tony Award winner Stephen Oremus (The Book of Mormon, Wicked).

Designing the production are Tony nominee David Rockwell (scenic design), Tony Award winner Gregg Barnes (costume design), Tony Award winner Kenneth Posner (lighting design), John Shivers (sound design), Josh Marquette (hair design) and Randy Houston Mercer (make-up design).

Kinky Boots is produced on Broadway by  Daryl Roth and Hal Luftig, James L. Nederlander, Terry Allen Kramer, Independent Presenters Network, CJ E&M, Jayne Baron Sherman, Just for Laughs Theatricals/Judith Ann Abrams, Yasuhiro Kawana, Jane Bergère, Allan S. Gordon & Adam S. Gordon, Ken Davenport, Hunter Arnold, Lucy and Phil Suarez, Bryan Bantry, Ron Fierstein and Dorsey Regal, Jim Kierstead/Gregory Rae, BB Group/Christina Papagjika, Michael DeSantis/Patrick Baugh, Brian Smith/Tom and Connie Walsh, Warren Trepp, and Jujamcyn Theaters.

For tickets visit The Al Hirschfeld Theatre is located at 302 West 45th Street.

Check out highlights from Kinky Boots!