Advertisement

Cyndi Lauper's 'Kinky Boots' on Broadway: What did critics think?

April 05, 2013|By Jamie Wetherbe
  • Billy Porter, center, stars in "Kinky Boots" on Broadway.
Billy Porter, center, stars in "Kinky Boots" on Broadway. (Matthew Murphy )

“Kinky Boots,” a new Broadway musical about a sole-saving drag queen, high-stepped Thursday night into the Al Hirschfeld Theatre.

The musical features a score by '80s pop queen Cyndi Lauper – her first turn as a Broadway composer -- and a book by stage and screen's Harvey Fierstein.

Based on the little-seen 2005 British film comedy of the same name, the show follows an unlikely partnership between struggling shoe-factory owner, Charlie (Stark Sands), and flashy drag queen, Lola (Billy Porter), as they shift the men’s stock from brogues to 6-inch stilettos.

PHOTOS: Arts and culture in pictures by The Times

Tony-winning director Jerry Mitchell helms the musical, which like the film, has a message of acceptance wrapped in plenty of sequins.

The first reviews from New York are in and, so far, “Kinky Boots” didn't quite knock the critics’ socks off.

Times theater critic Charles McNulty wrote that Lauper made “novice mistakes” with a score that “never establishes a compositional through line.” And while Fierstein's “heart is in the right place,” the show's “earnestness sinks it.” McNulty praised the top-drawer costumes, staging and the “acrobatic drag queens,” concluding that if the show “weren't such a cheesy commercial mess, it might actually be fun.”

Entertainment Weekly’s Thom Geier wrote that Fierstein and Mitchell's "production isn't perfect" and the cast's "British accents are as wobbly as an elephant in stilettos." He added that Lauper's "infectious" score is "one cause for celebration," as is Porter, whose “sequined swagger” gives “Kinky Boots” “some pumps-up kicks.”

Ben Brantley of the New York Times wrote that Lauper’s “love- and heat-seeking score” wowed with her trademark “mix of sentimentality and eccentricity,” and the costumes and boots courtesy of Gregg Barnes made for “big red scene stealers.” Brantley didn’t have the same praise for Fierstein’s script, writing that his “sticky, sermonizing” comes through in the second half, where “all the clichés stand naked before you.”

Joe Dziemianowicz of the New York Daily News wrote that while the “script has issues like a pair of shoes” that don’t quite fit, Mitchell’s production “moves lickety-split” and Porter is a “force of nature as Lola.” But, he added, Lauper ‘s “multicolored, surprising and fun” score outshines the fancy footwear and proves to be the “real star” of the show.   

ALSO:

Stars watch Elaine Stritch's swan song at New York's Cafe Carlyle

Geffen's new season: Donald Margulies, Harold Pinter, Teller plays

Review: A new Cinderella at Los Angeles Opera makes an impression

MORE

INTERACTIVE: Christopher Hawthorne's On the Boulevards

Depictions of violence in theater and more

PHOTOS: Arts and culture in pictures


Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|