Kinky Boots Kicks It Up at The Stanley Theatre in Utica

“Be yourself because everyone else is taken!” is the recurring theme in this spectacular Tony award winning musical brought to the Stanley Theatre by the Broadway Theater League of Utica. Executive Director, Derek Clark, opened the show by announcing that they had the first ever “Pledge for a Purpose Gala” on opening night benefiting the LGBTQ youth and the Q Center of Utica. This community oriented event was a huge success at bringing support to a very worthy cause.

Kinky Boots, is set in a Northampton shoe factory where young Brit Charlie Price (Adam Kaplan) inherits his fathers ailing business. His father believed that the most beautiful thing in the world was a shoe.

However, Charlie’s father’s dream was not his dream. He had already moved to London with his girlfriend and had no intention of staying in the family business. With a loyalty to his father he returns, and a chance encounter with a drag queen named Lola (J. Harrison Ghee), this pair come up with a brilliant idea to cater to a niche market as a way to save the shoe factory he has inherited.

Lola and her drag dancers (The Angels) wearing very exotic and glamorous costumes and insist that  these stilettos must bear the weight of a man. So, with the help of an enormously humorous dedicated cast of employees, they make boots for “women who are men.”  The only stipulation for Lola’s assistance in this endeavor, they must be RED “the color of sex and passion and danger”.  Born are the thigh-high “kinky boot”. Lola’s rendition of “Sex is in the Heel” was a soulful and sultry number that included The Angels, her “gaggle of fabulous drags.” By the end of this number, every member in the audience was ready to buy into a pair of Kinky Boots.

Memorable performances by Lauren (Tiffany Engen) and Don (Aaron Walpole), leave audience members in stitches throughout the show. Lauren’s crush on Charlie is portrayed in the hilarious “The History of Wrong Guys” and her school girl giddiness in his presence is beyond believable. Don is portrayed as a very macho man and is convinced he knows “What a Woman Wants.” It’s a great ride watching him change his tune by the end of the show.

This Tony award winning musical based on Broadway’s own Harvey Fierstein’s book and with a score written by Cyndi Lauper is a beautiful story of acceptance, love, and tolerance. The musical definitely attempts to educate the audience on these virtues, and indeed it does! When Lola sings the moving “Hold Me in Your Heart” to her estranged father, the entire theatre broke into applause for a length of time before the show could continue.

The final song “Raise You Up/Just Be” had everyone on their feet singing and dancing as the entire cast belted out the lyrics JUST BE WHO YOU WANT TO BE. A long and enthusiastic standing ovation followed.

Kinky Boots proves to be a memorable night at the theatre. It is a breathtaking event from the sets, to the elaborate costumes, upbeat songs, amazing dance routines that include cartwheels and splits, and a good blend of humor and reflection. It sends a valuable message to challenge each of us to accept others for who they are. As it makes it’s way across North America, it is definitely a must see performance.

TOUR DATES:

Pittsburgh, PA – Sep. 20 – Sep. 25, 2016
Tokyo, Japan – Oct. 5 – Oct. 30, 2016
Osaka, Japan – Nov. 2 – Nov. 6, 2016
Worcester, MA – Nov. 29 – Dec. 4, 2016
Waterbury, CT – Dec. 6 – Dec. 11, 2016
Wilmington, DE – Dec. 13 – Dec. 18, 2016
Ottawa, ON – Dec. 27 – Jan. 1, 2017
Salt Lake City, UT – Jan. 17 – Jan. 22, 2017
San Jose, CA – Jan. 24 – Jan. 29, 2017
Sacramento, CA – Jan. 31 – Feb. 5, 2017
Vancouver, BC – Feb. 7 – Feb. 12, 2017
Edmonton, AB – Feb. 14 – Feb. 19, 2017
Calgary, AB – Feb. 21 – Feb. 26, 2017
Spokane, WA – Feb. 28 – Mar. 4, 2017
Tucson, AZ – Mar. 14 – Mar. 19, 2017
Denver, CO – Mar. 21 – Mar. 26, 2017
Dallas, TX – Mar. 28 – Apr. 9, 2017
Clearwater, FL – Apr. 11 – Apr. 16, 2017
West Palm Beach, FL – Apr. 18 – Apr. 23, 2017
Sarasota, FL – Apr. 25 – Apr. 30, 2017
Jacksonville, FL – May 2 – May 7, 2017
Indianapolis, IN – May 16 – May 21, 2017
Dayton, OH – May 23 – May 28, 2017
Richmond, VA – May 30 – Jun. 4, 2017
Toledo, OH – Jun. 6 – Jun. 11, 2017
Louisville, KY – Jun. 13 – Jun. 18, 2017