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Well, my "little vacation" ended up lasting two and a half years... funny how life steers your life in directions you weren't planning on. I'll start off with occasional posts, but I fully plan to resume this blog to full speed by the new year.

I hope you'll come back for frequent visits, to see new reviews, to share opinions, to take a survey (or two), and to celebrate the shows and show people that have made the TheatreScene!

Jeff

Saturday, January 14, 2012

ON THE RADAR: Kinky Boots

The film's promo
There really is no reason why the musical version of Kinky Boots should be on my radar.  Do we really need another musical based on a marginally successful film?  I mean, look at the rest of this season - 4 "new" musicals are based on films - Ghost, Once, Newsies and now Leap of Faith (another ON THE RADAR entry).  The  other two "new" musicals are re-treads, too - Rebecca has a film version or two, though the show is based entirely upon the novel, and Nice Work If You Can Get It is a songbook show based on another musical/  Heck, even the two remaining revivals, have movies made of them - Jesus Christ Superstar has never had a financially successful Broadway production, and is arguably best known to most by its concept recording and film version; Evita  will even incorporate its film-version song add-on, "You Must Love Me."

And with Kinky Boots we have yet another show that will feature a drag queen.  I love a good drag queen as much as the next musical theatre enthusiast, but enough, already - all three versions of La Cage aux Folles, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Victor/Victoria, Chicago, Hairspray...!

A scene from the film

Still, it is on my radar, mostly because I'm hoping for another British film turned awesome musical like The Full Monty.  I love shows about every day people faced with the lowest point in their lives who over come it all with a great sense of style and a dance number or two.  Boots also has what Monty has: a genuine heart beating under a veneer of social consciousness all wrapped up in an outrageous, but sensible way out of its own plight.  Trade inexperienced male strippers with an inexperienced shoe maker creating drag-ilicious boots for guys dressed as gals, add the threat of unemployment and financial ruin and you can see that the two are related AND have current event relevance.

Cyndi and Harvey

People love shows they can relate to, laugh at, get an emotional tug at their heart.  Kinky Boots might just have that and more.  And let's face it, who better than Harvey Fierstein to write the book for such an enterprise?  A sense of humor with a socially aware bite to it is his forte, and the guy knows a thing or two about crowd-pleasing both with drag queens and emotional content.  Then there is the potential greatness of the quirky, slightly off the beam sensibility of music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper.  The gal who knows a thing or two about the avante garde.  Plus, anyone who can pull off the fun of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and "She Bop," AND make you bawl like a baby with "True Colors," seems the perfect match for both Fierstein and the property itself.

Stark and Billy

With the announcement this past week that Kinky Boots will be having a major workshop, you can tell this one is on the fast track to the big time.  Mega-producer Daryl Roth is the money behind it, and she ain't no slouch - look at The Normal Heart revival.  The generally underrated and too incredible for words Jerry Mitchell will direct and choreograph.  And the workshop will star the awesomeness that is Stark Sands (American Idiot) and the fabulousness of Billy Porter (if you missed him in the 1994 Grease as Teen Angel, you REALLY missed something amazing)!  The best of all possible worlds, I think.

The boots in question

Here's hoping the workshop is a success and that soon red leather thigh highs with 6 inch stilettos become all the rage on Broadway!

Jeff
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