Drag queens getting Kinky on Broadway

Upon hearing that the great Cyndi Lauper wrote the shows music, one might be curious to see the number one musical of the year, Kinky Boots. With all its sparkle, glam and sass, Kinky Boots exudes the message of just being yourself through a mix of elaborate dance numbers performed by Lola the drag queen (played by Billy Porter) and her troupe of drag queens, the Angels, as well as the shoe factory owner Charlie (Andy Kelso.)

In the story, Charlie has just moved to London with his fiancée Nicola to start a life away from the English countryside, but is forced to return back home to the Price and Son factory of his father, which has recently become bankrupt. Despite how desperate Charlie is to leave home, he ends up finding his place in the very one he left. Upon returning to London, Charlie has a run in with Lola (actually a man named Simon – this is later revealed in the phenomenal “Not My Fathers Son” number) and some thugs, which end up getting him knocked out.

Just when things are starting to get a bit dry, the next scene is a dance number to the catchy “Land of Lola” where Lola and her/his angels are introduced. Lola Porter, in all her dazzle and shine, makes the audience fall in love – she is the star; without Lola there is no Kinky Boots.

Upon meeting Lola, Charlie makes an offer to design some sturdy shoes for her, since women’s shoes can’t support the weight of a drag queen. The rest of the show is then a mesh of clashes at the factory and fighting between Lola and Charlie, who at the same time connect in a way because they both have personal farther issues.

However, Charlie’s love interest here is the ever slightly obsessed factory worker Lauren, cue “The History of Wrong Guys” number, though the musical doesn’t focus on this too much. Despite all her sparkle, we find Lola/Simon has a history that goes inches deeper than any of her high-heeled shoes. The audience learns that before meeting Charlie she never felt comfortable outside her theater or makeup; in fact Simon as a man is very shy, awkward and uncomfortable, especially when he returns to the home he left behind and is teased by many of the factory workers.

In fact Porter makes such a great drag queen there’s time when one forgets there’s a man under there, especially in a humorous scene where she flirts with factory worker Don who flirts back not suspecting at all that she’s a man, showing the difference in the culture of London and the English countryside.

As for Charlie, we discover his father never had a lot of faith in his son’s ability to run the factory. This pulls Charlie and Lola/Simon together as soul mates – not in the romantic sense but in a friendship sense. On the stage you see how they complete each other and bring out the best in one another. The fact that they are different in literally every single way only makes the message of the musical more concrete.

When they first meet, you can see on Charlie’s face that he is a bit freaked out by Lola because he’s never seen anything like her before. Then with every scene he appears to become more and more accepting of her differences. With Lola’s help, Charlie becomes more confident than he’s ever been, even gaining the courage to say no to his annoying fiancee Nicola at one point.

So with all the curiosity surrounding this show, University students question if they should shell out $50+ for a ticket to see the show. With a convenient TKTS discount booth down the street, The Pace Press recommends seeing this fun exciting musical performance at least once. So put on your stilettos and head on down to Kinky Boots at west 45th street.

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