Based on the Miramax motion picture Kinky Boots written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth
Book by Harvey Fierstein, Music and Lyrics by Cyndi Lauper
Bass Hall, Fort Worth
Director – Jerry Mitchell
Musical Director—Ryan Fielding Garrett
Scenic Designer – David Rockwell
Lighting Designer—Kenneth Posner
Sound Designer – John Shivers
Costume Designer – Gregg Barnes
Hair Designer—Josh Marquette
Make-Up Designer—Randy Houston Mercer
CAST (in reviewed performance):
Mr. Price—Tom Souhrada
Young Charlie—Griffin Reese
Young Lola—Jomil Elijah Robinson
Simon Sr.—Horace V. Rogers
Charlie Price—Steven Booth
George—Jim J. Bullock
Lauren—Lindsay Nicole Chambers
Lola—Kyle Taylor Parker
Angels—Joe Beauregard, Joseph Anthony Byrd, Sam Dowling, Sam Rohloff, Ricky Schroeder,
Trish—Shawna M. Hamic
Richard Bailey—Zach Adkins
Milan Stage Manager—Annie Edgerton
Ensemble—Zach Adkins, Joe Beauregard, Joseph Anthony Byrd, Damien Brett, Lauren Nicole Chapman, Sam Dowling, Annie Edgerton, Shawna M. Hamic, Patty Lohr, Mike Longo, Jennifer Noble, Horace V. Rogers, Sam Rohloff, Ricky Schroeder, Tom Souhrada, Juan Torres-Falcon, Sam Zeller
Reviewed Performance: 10/27/2015
Reviewed by Genevieve Croft , Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Based on the 2005 Miramax motion picture, Kinky Boots is one of Broadway’s newer musicals, premiering in 2013. With a book by Tony-winner, Harvey Fierstein, music and lyrics by Tony, Emmy, and Grammy-winner Cyndi Lauper, Kinky Boots (inspired by true events) tells the story of Charlie Price, a man who inherits a shoe factory from his father. To save the business, Charlie forms an unlikely partnership with cabaret performer and drag queen, Lola. With Lola’s help, Charlie produces a line of high-heeled boots. Throughout the course of the story, Charlie and Lola discover they are not so different after all. With upbeat music and lyrics by Lauper, and a humorous book by Broadway staple Fierstein-audiences are guaranteed to be entertained-and what modern Broadway musical would be complete without flashy costumes, thigh-high sexy “kinky boots,” and drag queens!
Director Jerry Mitchell brought together an ensemble cast which worked well together, and collaborated with a dedicated crew intricately knit together scenery, lighting and costumes that enhanced the story being told my these wild and eccentric characters. Mr. Mitchell wonderfully delivers in the role of director, and choreographer for this production-the choreography was wonderfully dynamic. To see such intricate choreography in “Sex Is in the Heel,” and the Act I finale, “Everybody Say Yeah” was one of the most enjoyable parts of the entire show. This number really brought the audience’s energy up. I was very impressed with the polished movements of the ensemble, as well as the syncopated movements on the factory conveyor belts in this number. It really created some lovely stage pictures, and was very powerful. I was also very impressed with the unique choreography and stage movement in “In This Corner.” The slow-motion movements were very well executed, and provided the audience with some awe-inspiring stage pictures.
Early on in the production, the energy of the ensemble seemed to be a little lacking, but, as the story developed, and these enthusiastic musical numbers were presented one after another, the energy certainly elevated, as the production moved into Act II. I am confident that as the production and ensemble hits stride in the production run, the energy and enthusiasm will be present from the moment the Price and Son Shoe Factory opens its doors, and the show begins.
The one thing I truly missed about this musical production was the presence of an overture. While I realize that this is not specific to the performance reviewed at Bass Hall- this is simply my commentary and solely my opinion on the musical itself. Act II was so fully charged after the intermission with the Entr’acte that it wasn’t until after the intermission that I realized I truly missed some sort of high-charged musical introduction or overture to start out the show. As I sit here writing this, I wonder if this would have helped the energy of the start of the show. We may never know. It was also very difficult (at times) to understand some of the dialogue, due in part, to the heavy dialects from the ensemble. I really had to listen very closely to make sure I understood each line of dialogue, and key details to the story. Heavy dialects do elevate the realism of the actors and the characters that they are portraying on stage, and I can say that they sounded very authentic to the area of England where the story takes place. However, I caution you as audiences, that you will have to listen extra carefully to fully understand each line of dialogue.
Sets were designed by David Rockwell. There were many surprises that came along with the set and overall design. I was most impressed with the overall first impression of the outside of Price and Sons Shoe Factory. It was lovely to see the exteriors scenes as the first impression, and as the story progressed, the scenic changes were executed with such a grand effect. I also enjoyed the many uses of the ladder-and the different ways it was manipulated to create different playing areas of the stage, and different locations in the setting. I felt that Broadway had been brought to the Bass Hall on Tuesday evening. The sets were created, designed, and executed with great care, detail and precision.
Lighting was designed by Kenneth Posner. Lighting, like the scenic design, was also very intricate, and executed in a very professional manner. The mood was clearly established as the audience was drawn into the world of the musical. It is apparent that there was quite a bit of time and talent devoted to creating the lighting of this production. The variety of bright, colorful lighting really accentuated the colorful personalities of these quirky characters. Lighting was also high energy, and powerful. There were some lovely silhouettes cast of simple items (such as high-heeled shoes and boots) that added a visually pleasing, and creative touch to the lighting. I was also very impressed with the quick changes of the lighting. With each scene change, I was fascinated with how quickly the lighting was changing to accommodate and accentuate each scene. Lighting was truly dazzling, and glitzy. All in all, lighting was well-executed, and was certainly as dramatic as the action on stage providing much of the high energy that was present in the second half of the production.
Costumes were designed by Gregg Barnes. Barnes designed costumes that also worked well with the scenic and the lighting designs. The costumes were very appropriate to the story- and were also full of spectacle and color. Each actor from the principal actors to those in the ensemble had unique and special details that enhanced their character and importance to the story. Barnes did a phenomenal job of collaborating with the other areas of design, and created a visually pleasing, and a complex design for each character in this production. It was most impressive to see the sheer amount of costume changes throughout the production-especially those of Lola and her entourage of Angels. In every scene, Lola would come out in something different. It was wonderfully satisfying to see something outlandish-that would always fit her personality. And those shoes-they really made me jealous! As someone with a fancy for shoes, it was appealing to see so many shoes and boots. I especially loved the boots with the Union Jack on them. I’d love to know where I could find a pair of those! Wow!
Kyle Taylor Parker was phenomenal in the role of Lola. Through facial expressions, an impressive and powerful voice, and a strong presence on stage, Parker convincingly portrayed the flashy Lola. I thoroughly enjoyed his portrayal of Lola, and feel quite certain that audiences will laugh along with the over the top line delivery, on stage persona, and larger than life choreography. Standout musical numbers of Mr. Parker include the “Land of Lola,” “Sex Is in the Heel,” and the touching “Hold Me in Your Heart.” Each musical number demonstrated Mr. Parker’s versatility as a performer, and each had something different about them. There was never a moment when his stellar performances were the same. It should be noted that Mr. Parker was a member of the Original Broadway Cast of Kinky Boots. What a treat to see him on stage in Fort Worth, Texas.
Another standout performance was Steven Booth, in the role of Charlie Price. Booth was the representation of normalcy in the world of eccentricity. Booth provided quite a bit of humor to the story, with excellent chemistry with co-worker, Lauren, beautifully portrayed by Lindsay Nicole Chambers. Chambers wonderfully portrayed the comic foil amidst the group of factory workers. It was pleasant to see her express herself in “The History of Wrong Guys,” as she summons up her courage to cast aside her shyness and express her romantic feelings for Charlie.
It was most surprising to see performance veteran, Jim J. Bullock in the role of George. Most remembered as playing Monroe on the 1980’s sitcom “Too Close for Comfort” with co-star Ted Knight, serving as co-host on syndicated talk show, The Jim J. and Tammy Faye show, with ex-televangelist, Tammy Faye Messner and his portrayal of Prince Valium in Spaceballs. His performance was very impressive. He provided the necessary touch of humor, and certainly delivered with facial expressions. At age 60, Mr. Bullock certainly emitted a youthful persona on stage. It was evident that he dedicated much time, and care for the character of George. Kinky Boots is definitely worth seeing. The meticulous and care for detail is evident in all aspects of the production, and makes for a wonderful experience at the theater. If you are looking for an opportunity to see a new musical-with all the glitz and glamour of Broadway, in the comfort of your backyard-I highly recommend Kinky Boots at Bass Performance Hall. You have a very short time to see Kinky Boots before it closes- and then, “these boots are made for walkin’!”
KINKY BOOTS (National Tour)
Bass Performance Hall, 4th and Calhoun Streets, Fort Worth, Texas 76102
Plays through November 1.
Thursday, Oct. 29 at 7:30pm; Friday, Oct. 30 at 7:30pm Saturday, Oct. 31 at 1:30pm and 7:30pm; Sunday, Nov. 1 at 1:30pm and 6:30pm
Ticket prices range from $55.00-$121.00, based on seating. For more information, or to purchase tickets visit http://www.basshall.com, or call the box office at 817-212-4280, or toll free at 1-877-212-4280.