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In Review

Get your kicks at “Kinky Boots”

Forestburgh Playhouse

Bill Moloney
Posted 8/19/22

The Forestburgh Playhouse has been on quite the tear!

Winding us up with “Mamma Mia” right into the wacky world of “Rotten”, the Miracle in the Woods is once again packing …

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In Review

Get your kicks at “Kinky Boots”

Forestburgh Playhouse

Posted

The Forestburgh Playhouse has been on quite the tear!

Winding us up with “Mamma Mia” right into the wacky world of “Rotten”, the Miracle in the Woods is once again packing the barn with an audience pleasing grand spectacle.

“Kinky Boots” is based on the 2005 British film of the same name that was inspired by a true story. Broadway icon Harvey Fierstein penned the stage book and enlisted pop star Cyndi Lauper to come up with the music and lyrics. Together they crafted a heartwarming musical that is truly poignant, funny and knocks your socks off. The show had a Broadway run from 2013 through 2019 and garnered 13 nomina- tions winning 6 Tonys including Best Musical.

The plot revolves around Charlie Price who is attempt- ing to save his recently de- ceased father’s shoe business
in Northampton, England. The small town company has been a decades long staple of the local community employing many of Charlie’s longtime friends and neighbors. The shoe shop runs into big financial problems prompting Charlie to ponder the inevitable closing of the business.

By chance, Charlie encounters a drag queen in the street and soon forms an improbable union with Lola whereupon a niche market is discovered in the production of high heeled boots strong enough for a man (who likes to dress like a woman) can wear. The international shoe show in Milan becomes the dream Charlie imagines that will get Price Shoes back on its feet. Along the way, Charlie and Lola learn a lot about each other.

The ensemble of this production dazzles throughout. Whether they sew, stitch or glue shoes together in one of Scenic Designer Steven Velasquez’s English working class factory sets or strut and parade glittery outfits on stage or in a drag club, they exude heartfelt passion in everything they do, say or sing. The company numbers like “Everybody Say Yeah” or the finale “Raise Me Up/Just Be” are just two that are worth the price of admission alone.

Musical Director James Osorio keeps this spirited songbook bounding along and as energized as it needs to be with the very capable hands-on expertise of his onstage musicians who stay nestled in the rafters above the stage. I’m sure that Costume Designer Kurt Alger had a blast coming up with this costume itinerary. He deftly takes us from working class stiffs to outrageous drag queens and everything in between. His diversity and attention to detail was abso- lutely praiseworthy. Under the direction and choreography of Anthony C. Daniel, this production sky rockets with vivacity and emotional impact. His direction is relentless, it shows and it pays off!

The duel leads of Joe Chisholm as Charlie and David Kaverman as Lola are what inject true zeal into this production. They are two men who are really not that different. It’s difficult for me to separately articulate their thes- pian qualities. They mutually make us feel their very diverse dilemmas. They both make us laugh and they both brought the house down in their own individual numbers. However, the most touching of songs, to me, was their beautifully rendered duet “I’m Not My Father’s Son”.

“Kinky Boots” isn’t just about shoes and drag queens. It radi- ates many memorable messages. It’s about hard work, small town bigotry, true patience, love. But at its core it resonates acceptance; acceptance of every single person no matter how high their heels are!

“Kinky Boots” will run through August 28. Tickets and info are available through the box office at (845) 794-1194 or online at fb- playhouse.org.

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