Andy Kelso and Jeanna de Waal Named New Stars of Kinky Boots on Broadway

By Adam Hetrick
December 23, 2013

Andy Kelso and Jeanna de Waal will join the principal cast of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Kinky Boots, succeeding Tony nominees Stark Sands and Annaleigh Ashford, respectively, producers announced Dec. 23.

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 the production March 2 to film the next season of the Showtime series "Masters of Sex."

Beginning Jan. 28, Kelso, who currently plays Harry in Kinky Boots, will take on the co-starring role of Charlie Price, opposite Tony winner Billy Porter, who stars as outrageous drag performer Lola. Porter will remain with Kinky Boots at least through July 14, according to representatives. He earned a Tony Award for his performance.

De Waal (Wicked, Carrie) will take on the role of Lauren beginning March 4. Jake Odmark joins the ensemble in the roles previously played by Andy Kelso.

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!