“Ladies and Gentlemen, and Those Who’ve Yet to Decide” . . . it’s time to get off that good-lookin’ bottom, strap on your most dazzling show shoes, and head to the theater to enjoy TPAC’s current hit, Kinky Boots.
Written by Harvey Fierstein, Kinky Boots tells a familiar story of a young man, Charlie (played by Steven Booth), who inherits his father’s generationally owned, and washed-up, business—a shoe manufacturing company. After waffling over what to do with his newly acquired factory, Charlie has a chance meeting with the sassy, transgendered Lola (played by J. Harrison Ghee), who quickly turns Charlie’s snooze fest of a business into one with magnificent high-heeled, thigh-high boots churning off the conveyer belts.
In this fun and upbeat performance, actor J. Harrison Ghee simply steals the show with Lola’s zip and zeal attitude and quick-witted remarks, leaving the audience anticipating her every appearance. Along with the awe-inspiring, spinning moves of Lola and her “gaggle of girls,” Kinky Boots explores a sincere struggle within the “untapped niche” of the transgendered community—how to keep those fabulous high-heels from breaking so frequently under a man’s weight.
Writer Fierstein speaks to the heart of the LGBT community with his portrayal of another, more serious and real issue: acceptance. Throughout the show, Lola switches between her female and male personas, giving the audience a slight peek into the wearisome and often cruel world of those of us lying outside the status quo. Don’t worry though. Not too much time is spent on this drag of being a drag. Lola, much like the courageous person inside all of us, handles herself like a star and romps on, keeping her glittery chin up and her shiniest heels forward!
Along the way, the high-energy and entertaining cast sings and dances to songs from pop icon and Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter Cyndi Lauper. Ms. Lauper really shows out in this one with both brisk, catchy tunes and heart-felt solos, including spots for five local musicians (Steve Patrick, Jimmy Bowland, Barry Gree, Lindsey Smith Trostle, and Zach Casebolt).
If you’re only going to one TPAC Broadway series show this season, make it Kinky Boots, winner of the 2013 Tony award for “Best Musical,” playing at TPAC’s Andrew Jackson Hall February 4-8.