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The Five Best Things About Seeing Kinky Boots On Stage

So we recently went to see Kinky Boots (again) at the beautiful Al Hirschfeld theatre on 45th and 8th and we were wowed (AGAIN!) by the magic of Kinky Boots Live on stage, so much so that we thought we would share our top 5 highlights of seeing Kinky Boots Live.

 

View from Al Hirshfeld StallsCyndi Lauper’s Party Music!

Girls (and guys!) just wanna have fun right? And fun you will certainly have at Kinky Boots! Cyndi has penned some fabulous tunes for this show! Show stopping numbers include “Land of Lola,” “Everybody Say Yeah” and “Raise You Up/Just Be.” There

The Amazing Costumes

The sex is CERTAINLY in the heel in Kinky Boots! Other than the FABULOUS pair of knee high sparkly red boots (think Dorothy, but all grown up and super sassy) there are some wonderful costumes, including wonderful shoes, on display! Part of Act Two is set in a fashion show, so you can only imagine what visual wonders you will be greeted with! This show is certainly a treat for the eyes! I wish Price & Son were a real place so I could buy me some of those fabulous heels!

The Message

Kinky Boots celebrates equality, acceptance and ones right to express themselves; three key ingredients to inner peace and a subsequent happy life. Yes Kinky Boots is a Broadway Musical, but it is also a safe space where viewers can see what happens when people unlock their potential and become great just by accepting who they are. Be who you want, do what you want and treat others with the same respect that you would want to be treated; that is a beautiful message indeed.

The Souvenirs

Kinky Boots beaker

A Kinky Boots drinks beaker – free with the price of a drink!

A trip to the theatre isn’t JUST about the show! There is some amazing merchandise on sale at the theatre such as the shows soundtrack, key rings and sweaters etc. If you want to make your trip that bit more memorable you can buy a lasting souvenir which means you can have a little bit of the show forever. Even if you are a bit strapped for cash, you get a free Kinky Boots beaker with soft and alcoholic drinks at the bar (that you can keep and take home!) On top of that, you get an all important Playbill. If you are lucky and wait patiently at stage door after the show, the cast might even sign it for you.

That Uplifting Feeling

I guess this is a combination of all of the above! A trip to Kinky Boots will undoubtedly leave you feeling uplifted. From the moment that you take your seat and hear the overture play to the moment that the curtains go down and the audience are on their feet clapping, this show will lift your heart. Even after the show you may still find yourself smiling! The best thing of all is that you have shared this amazing show with a thousand or so other people in the audience and all the cast on stage too! That is something very special indeed!

Kinky Boots is currently running at the Al Hirshfeld Theatre, where it is booking through to May 2015. The show is also touring the USA until the end of 2015. Rumours of a London transfer for Kinky Boots are also rife, which is good news for all European fans of the show!

Pop Stars who Write Musicals

Move over Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, there is a new team of musical composers in town! Recent decades have seen the invasion of rock and pop star in the musicalsphere! That’s right, Kinky Boot’s composer Cyndi Lauper is not the only member of pop royalty to turn her eye to penning a successful musical, there are plenty of chart toppers who have taken the stage by storm.

Whilst the back catalog of pop and rock artists have been turned into musicals (Mamma Mia! Jersey Boys, Thriller Live, We Will Rock You, The Bodyguard etc etc!) stars are now interested in going one step further by writing new music specifically designed for the stage. Below we celebrate our some of our favorite chart topping musical artists who have made cracking productions! Check out our list of Pop Stars who write musicals!

James Bourne – Loserville

Loserville 200x300A huge star among teens and young ladies in Britan, Busted, McBusted and Son of Dork musician, James Bourne penned West End Musical Loserville. The show was a modern love story about a geeky lad, Michael, who falls for a girl named Holly. Bourne’s pop/rock score was hailed as being fun and accessible. Some tracks were even co-written with McFly Star Tom Fletcher! Basically every teenage girls dream team!
Stand out song: We’re Not Alone
Loserville ran at the Garrick Theatre in London from October 2012 to January

Boy George : Taboo

Taboo the musicalTaboo is a strange one really. With a book by Mark Davies Markham (re-written for Broadway by Charles Busch) and with music and lyrics by Boy George, the story focuses on Boy George’s performances at London’s Taboo club. Based Taboo is based on a true story and contains some pre-existing music from the Boy George back catalogue, however the majority of music was a new and original score written especially for the show by Boy George himself, earning him a Tony
Stand out Song: Out of Fashion
Taboo ran at the Venue Theatre in London from January 2002 and on Broadway at the Plymoth Theatre from November 2003

Bono and David Howell Evans – Spiderman: Turn off the Dark

Turn of the DarkTwo key members of U2 working together to create the original score for a big budget Broadway musical sounds like a recipe for success. And it was…sort of. Law suits and preview issues aside, there is no denying that the Spiderman musical was spectacular. The score was punchy with an undeniable rock influence that one can only expect from the pair of Irish rockers.
Stand out Song: Rise Above
Spiderman Turn Off The Dark ran at the Foxwoods Theatre on Broadway from November 28th 2010 to January 2014. The show  is set to take up a LA residency later this year.

Billy Joel Armstrong – American Idiot

American IdiotFront man to American rock sensation, Greenday, Billy Joel Armstrong went one step further than other chart topping artists and actually wrote some of the book to American Idiot, as well penning a large proportion of the music. Armstrong even occasionally appeared in the show! Incidentally, Kinky Boots star Stark Sands also starred in American Idiot in the supporting role of Tunny. American Idiot won itself 2 prestigious Tony Awards, therefore receiving the ultimate approval.
Stand out song: Wake Me up When September Ends
American Idiot ran at the St James Theatre on Broadway from March 2010 – April 2011. The show has since toured the US, the UK and played in Tokyo and Seoul.

Tori Amos – The Light Princess

The Light Princess 300x2001980’s Synthpop and solo singing sensation, Tori Amos, lent her musical skills to a National Theatre stage adaptation of Scottish Fairy-tale, The Light Princess. Nominated for several prestigious Oliver Awards, The Light Princess was a sell out success.
Stand out Song: Better Than
The Light Princess ran at London’s National Theatre from September 2013 until early 2014.

Elton John – Billy Elliot and the Lion King

Lion King logo 200x300The daddy of all popstars come musical composers, Elton John certainly knows how to write a great song that spans the genres! Originally penning the music for the 1994 motion picture, Elton John returned to the project for the stage musical adaptation of the show, which has become one of the most popular worldwide productions. The show won six Tony Awards and
Stand out Song in The Lion King : Circle of Life
Lion King the musical opened on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre in 1997 (moving to the Minskoff Theatre in 206) and on the West End at the Lyceum Theatre in 1999. Since then the show has gone on to stage other successful productions across the world.

Billy Elliot 200x300With the creation of the stage production of Billy Elliot, Sir Elton had an even bigger fish to fry as he composed an entirely new score for the show, winning himself a Drama Desk Award and a Tony nomination.
Stand out Song in Billy Elliot : Electricity
Billy Elliot the Musical premiered on London’s West End at the Victoria Palace Theatre in 2005 (where it continues to run,) opening on Broadway in 2008. The show has since gone on to play in countless other countries to sell out success.

 

Who Next?

The chart toppers are still at it too! Broadway is about to see the opening of the highly anticipated Sting musical The Last Ship, starring Rachel Tucker and the Sheryl Crow’s Musical, Diner premiers in Virginia in December 2014.

The Journey to Broadway

Kinky Boots 200x300Whilst Kinky Boots may now be a multi Tony Ward Winning Broadway Musical set for a West End transfer, what some people may not know is that the story started life in a little British village called Earls Barton in Northamptonshire. In this post we reveal exactly how the critically acclaimed story rose from a sleepy village to the dizzying heights of Broadway.

From Northampton to Hollywood

At the heart of the glitzy, show stopping Kinky Boots lays a true story amid a very humble background. In 1999 the BBC aired a documentary about the demise of a family run shoe factory, WJ Brooks Ltd, who had been in the footwear industry for several decades. Business owner, Steve Pateman, took over the company from his father in the early 90’s, only to see his business hit by the growing trend of cheap imports. Deciding that to succeed was to branch out, Pateman decided to tap a niche area of the market; fetish footwear. Pateman even took his new shoes, sold under rge brand “Divine Footwear” down a catwalk at a shoe fair!

Sound familiar? Of course it does! It just so happened that Geoff Deane and Tim Firth had Kinky boots filmseen the BBC documentary and were so inspired by Pateman’s plight, they decided the idea would work well on screen!

Renaming some of the key figures from WJ Brooks Ltd, Dean and Firth named the protagonist of the show “Charlie” and added a love interest in the mix, factory worker “Lauren.” Additionally, the character of “Lola” was added, who plays a drag queen that Charlie uses for market research, eventually forming a winning relationship for success.

The film was released in 2005, starring Joel Edgerton as Charlie, Sarah-Jane Potts as Lauren and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Simon. The film was a box office success, grossing $9,941,428 internationally. Ejiofor was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a comedy.

See the Kinky Boots Film Trailer below:

Hollywood to Chicago

Hollywood was not Kinky Boots final catwalk, in fact it was just the beginning! Broadway producer, Daryl Roth, saw the film at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and saw true musical potential in the movie. Enlisting the help of co-producer, Hal Luftig, Roth secured the rights to adapt the film for the stage.

kinky boots bank of america theatreSeeking out Jerry Mitchell (La Cage aux Folles, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Legally Blonde: The Musical), Roth and Luftig commissioned actor and writer Harvey Fierstein to write the book adaptation, knowing he was a good friend of Cyndi Lauper’s. As the team came together, Lauper was also enlisted as it was thought she could write show tunes as well as popular club music, two genres desired for the show. Having performed on Broadway as well as fulfilling a career as a popstar, Lauper had the experience needed to express theatricality via catchy pop tunes.

The creative team was by and large formed by 2010 and by October 2011, an initial reading of the script took place. Workshops for the show began in 2012, with Billy Porter and Stark Sands winning the leading roles of Charlie and Lola. Following rehearsals in New York City, the show opened in October 2012 for a pre-Broadway tryout at the Bank of America Theatre in Chicago.

Chicago to Broadway

The Chicago tryout was a success but did reveal room for improvement for the show. New Kinky Boots Playbillmusical numbers were added, including Charlie’s second song, and the book was slightly revised for the Broadway stage.

Kinky Boots opened at the Al Hirshfeld Theatre on Broadway on March 3rd 2013, to widespread praise and high box office sales. The final nod of approval for the show was in its 13 Tony Award nominations, in which the show swooped a staggering 6 Awards, including the award for Best New Musical. One thing was for sure, Kinky Boots had arrived on the Broadway Scene with glitzy pazazz, and these red shoes were a long way from their humble beginnings in Earls Barton.

Broadway to London?

At the beginning of 2014 Director Jerry Mitchell confirmed that Kinky Boots will be coming to London. In a statement made to The Stage, Mitchell said that the creative team were awaiting a vacancy in one of four West End theatre venues, ready for an opening in Spring 2015. Watch this space London…