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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 6, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 19
Kinky Boots stomps into Seattle!
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Kinky Boots stomps into Seattle!

by Eric Andrews-Katz - SGN A&E Writer

KINKY BOOTS, THE MUSICAL
5TH AVENUE THEATRE
Through May 8


Kinky Boots is the hit musical that stomped it's way all over Broadway - where it is still running. The sensational show (with music and lyrics by the legendary Cyndi Lauper) plays a return engagement to Seattle after it paraded through Seattle to sold-out theatre audiences in October 2014.

Kinky Boots tells the story of the unlikely friendship between Charlie Price, the son who inherits his father's failing shoe-factory, and Lola, a vivacious and exuberant Drag Queen. When the two meet by chance, Charlie comes up with the idea to make a line of shoes distinctively made for men that dress as women. He invites Lola to help him design the new footwear inviting her 'larger-than-life' personality into the factory. She visits in full drag, as she commonly dresses, causing many to raise their eyebrows. Charlie has to overcome the mindsets of the blue-collar factory workers, many of whom have never met a Gay person, never mind a female impersonator. As their friendship grows, both men find they not only address the challenges between their own differences, and the ways they think, but also with issues of their pasts, and the relationships between a boy and his father.

Adam Kaplan plays 'Charlie Price,' the inheritor of Price & Son Shoe Factory. While he does a good job in showing the character's naiveté, his stage presence leaves something to be desired. He seems flat, one dimensional, and even in his 11 o'clock number 'Soul of a Man,' his voice seems a bit lacking for such a large role. Tiffany Engen plays 'Lauren,' a worker in the shoe factory who develops a romantic crush on her boss. Her comic aptitude is clearly evident in the song 'History of Wrong Guys' as she brilliantly lists her gift for bad romantic choices. Ms. Engen steals every scene she is in and for good reason; she's damn funny! From simple body gestures to facial expressions to using her vocal talents, Tiffany Engen shines with every thing she does in this production.

The real star of the show is, without a doubt, J. Harrison Ghee as 'Lola.' Lola is a character that commands presence and Mr. Ghee delivers without hesitation. He moves comfortably in high heels giving Lola life and, more importantly, believability. His voice is soft enough to be feminine when speaking and strong enough to handle Cyndi Lauper's lyrics and music without ever breaking his character's boundaries. He is the star of the show and his performance is a delicious reminder as to why that is.

The Ensemble all do an excellent job in the various supporting roles. The three notable roles are: 'Nicola,' Charlie's materialistic girlfriend, played by Charissa Hogeland; 'Dan,' the factory man who learns to open his mind, played by Aaron Walpole; and 'George,' the factory's foreman, played by Sam Zeller, in place of Jim J. Bullock who usually plays the role of 'George' but was not available on Opening Night. All three performers do very well in their roles, adding to the storyline.

The music and lyrics definitely play a 'character' role in this show - as in any good musical. Cyndi Lauper definitely knows her various types of music and excels in all forms. Ranging from 'pop' sounds ('Raise You Up'), comical interactions ('What a Woman Wants'), or powerful ballad ('Hold Me in Your Heart'), there is a reason why Ms. Lauper set a precedent for winning her Kinky Boots Tony Award.



Kinky Boots opened on Broadway in March 2013 and is still running in full swing. Based on true events, the 2005 British-American film (starring Chiwetel 12 Years a Slave Ejiofor as 'Lola') is the foundation of the musical. The show made Broadway history giving pop-star Cyndi Lauper the honor of being the first female to achieve a solo win for Best Original Score. The musical was nominated for 13 Tony Awards (2013) and won six including Best Musical.

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