Strap On Your Red Stilettos and Hurry Over to Segerstrom Center for Kinky Boots

Move aside and make way for Lola’s grand entrance! The high-heeled, electric-SEXY-red KINKY BOOTS has stepped onto the runway at Segerstrom in Costa Mesa. The unlikely duo of a shoe-making businessman and one hellofa drag queen come together to help audience see that when you change your mind about someone, you can change the world.

Winner of six Tony Awards including BEST MUSICAL, this uplifting inspirational story features a Tony-winning score by CYNDI LAUPER, direction and Tony-winning choreography by JERRY MITCHELL (50 Broadway, Off-Broad, West End and touring productions), and derived from the book by four-time Tony winner HARVEY FIERSTEIN. KINKY BOOTS is inspired by a true story and is based off the Miramar motion picture of the same name.

To quickly understand the story, but not to diminish it in any way, it’s BILLY ELLIOT meets TOMMY BOY. KINKY BOOTS tells the emotional story of mans journey of overcoming prejudice and another mans challenge of saving his late fathers shoe business. Lola, a fabulous crossdressing entertainer, quickly becomes in need of some sturdy stilettos after an altercation in a dark alley. There she comes into contact with a man on the verge of losing his shoemaking business, Charlie aka Mr. Price, with the heel of her shoe, literally.

The two must work closely together as Charlie breaks into a new niche market, the sturdy high-heeled boots for grown men market. It’s, however, the acceptance and confidence that is needed from Charlie’s old-fashioned employees and over demanding girlfriend to get these off-kilter dreams a reality.

The musical basically follows the screenplay of the movie by the same name with only slight modifications and subtle differences in characters for better stage presence. The biggest differences will be seen within the girlfriend and Charlie’s hair color/body type. Otherwise, the characterization and scenes will feel similar despite a boxing match rather than arm-wrestling match better suited for cameras.

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We begin with an introduction to the shoe factory the majority of the show will take place, Price & Sons. Starting immediately with light-hearted music numbers telling the joy of shoemaking and the status quo, the show quickly becomes dull in the place-setting stage. We know the life of the party is just minutes away, but I couldn’t wait any more for Lola to take stage. Thankfully, just as I began to start lose it over songs about shoes and loving your current boring life, Lola steps in with all of her glory.

The “incident” occurs, the two meet, and quickly we are taken to the nightclub. The theatre is dark, the bright spotlight hits, the shimmering curtains glisten, and there before all of our eyes is this tall, dark strapping drag queen waiting for her cue to shine. Lola has arrived.

Lola is played by KYLE TAYLOR PARKER, a member of the original Broadway company, and I cannot imagine anyone playing her as well as he did. He was strong, powerful and timely. This is a character that carries this no show and must be on-point. Everything was just right. Nothing became over-the-top or unrealistic. Every moment with him was electric and meaningful. Every note was sung to perfection. I never felt like he was overpowering the others, which could be easy within this role, or that he didn’t fit every defining moment that makes him her.

The employees of Price & Sons were well rounded even though having to dwindled down from the masses of characters in the movie, but all the key figures are still around. Don, the close-minded, dimwitted, stocky and somewhat comic-relief needed employee remains but is half the character that NICK FROST was in the film. I felt that he could have been better portrayed but I realize would have been difficult for stage. Here Don is played by JOE COOTS (THE FULL MONTEY) still does great with the material given to him, but I did feel that his role was lacking some of the comedy from the film.

Charlie, STEVEN BOOTH (AVENUE Q), does play the role with the same heart and dilemmas the character fought in the film that all lead to powerful altercation between him and Lola. The scene remains strong and the tension is felt tight throughout the audience. The chemistry between the two is as grand as it could be leaving all emotional elements as touching as the film.

Lauren, LINDSAY NICOLE CHAMBERS, a corky employee of Charlie’s is still as adorable and a much funnier version of the films counterpart. This leads us to a special song where she gets to shine in a hilarious tell of “The History of Wrong Guys” where she uses physical humor and facial expressions that had the audience floored. She had me smiling with every awkward interaction with her boss as she couldn’t believe she was falling for man that she found “blah” before he found his passion.

Bonus Video Clip: Kinky Boots – Everybody Say Yeah

In fact, every song helps progress the story in a perfect pace with highs and lows of each character. KINKY BOOTS begins to step above the rest with “Sex Is in the Heel”, a big musical number where the fantastic orchestra gets to make their presence known. The music really makes you want to move with powerful bass and memorable creative dance numbers like within “Everybody Say Yeah”. This number leads to the end of Act 1 with the creative use of factory-line conveyor belts that are featured in just about every ad for the show.

In case you were unaware, this is a show with an abundance of tall, beautiful… crossdressers. Be prepared for some shock value… and some extremely long bare, muscular legs. All of them were so energetic, their joy was infectious.

The show is well-paced with 75-minute first act that you’ll wish never ends. KINKY BOOTS features a classic storytelling formula that can’t be beat. It’s everything you want in a big time musical. However, it isn’t the incredible songs, powerful performances, or great storytelling that makes a show so memorable and special, but rather how it makes you feel.

KINKY BOOTS is an incredible uplifting tale of two leads with very different quandaries ahead of them. It’s a story of being comfortable with yourself by simply standing out. It’s a show of big bold fun and 6-foot-tall sexy red boots. This is the show going back to just a big fun night out. It’s serious underlining themes have strong roots, but it’s a show that doesn’t get too serious. It’s big, bright and entertaining that hopefully fills everyone with joy.

Hell, if you don’t find KINKY BOOTS massively entertaining, perhaps you’re someone that needs your very own pair of red high-heeled boots.

December 30th, 2014 – January 11th, 2015
Tuesdays – Fridays at 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays at 2 & 7:30 p.m.
Sundays at 1 & 6:30 p.m.

Tickets start at $29
For more information visit scfta.org

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Joel Covey

Joel has been writing for SoCalThrills for the past decade covering entertainment, events, and theater since joining the site. He is a CSUF alum, studying within the Communication and Radio / TV / Film colleges.