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Theater Review: Kinky Boots Wows Columbus Audience

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The Broadway in Columbus season got off to a rousing start last night with the musical Kinky Boots.

OSU Theater Reviewers Joy Reilly and Allison Brogan agree the play at the Ohio Theater is an edgy, energetic crowd-pleaser.

Kinky Boots runs through October 11th at the Ohio Theater.

Joy Reilly is a professor of Theater at Ohio State where Allison Brogan is a graduate student.

Joy Reilly: The audience greeted this musical with a roar and responding to a message of empowerment and it was really absolutely extraordinary the audience's response. They never lost their energy at all. It was a twenty thirteen Tony Award-winning musical on Broadway the best musical. It was actually inspired by a true story that was captured by a little movie in the sort of some, around two thousand and five, something like that, about a gentleman's shoe factory in North Hampton England. And the son of the owner is struggling to keep it going after his father dies and the old fashion shoes are no longer appreciated by anybody so they they start to lose business. Tastes have changed and then along comes this wonderful creature who inspires the Kinky Boots.

Marilyn Smith: And this wonderful creature would be?

Allison Brogan: Lola. His name is actually Simon. But we identify with him and he identifies himself as Lola and she is amazing. And she really changes Charlie's life. They reconnect and Lola inspires Charlie to perhaps change the way that he operates his business and try to cater to a different clientele which would be the fabulous drag queen community.

MS: And that's reenergize the factory.

AB: Yes.

MS: And all the people in it I assume.

AB:  The boots are amazing. Let me tell you it's a great moment that kind of builds up to us seeing all the boots on the assembly line. And each one is a unique boot and it's amazing.

JR: No wonder the audience roared.

MS:Well this is kind of a niche idea, a very small idea but yet it apparently has very broad appeal.

JR: Yeah and because it was based on a true story the audience is responding to this and thinking that they can use their passion and accomplish everything they want to do.

MS: There are some pretty high powered people behind this play as well. Harvey Firestein wrote the book, Cindy Lauper penned the music.

JR: She won all kinds of awards for that. for the score. It was extraordinary because of her taste in music that she should win it.

AB: I think because Cindy Lauper has such a unique style Kinky Boots really elicits that strong response from the audience that Joy was talking about so every audience member really brought their best style. Especially their own kind of style of Kinky Boots.

MS: So they were cheering at the beginning how about at the end?

JR: They were cheering at the end. They were cheering at the beginning and they were cheering at the end. I thought that act one was stunning. But personally I sort of, sort of lost the momentum in act two because they just didn't seem to create a lot of new ideas. But the audiences, this is for a general audience. An audience that wants to believe that it is empowered and is passionate.

AB: It's a very ensemble driven show as well so the numbers, with the ensemble, I think really make it unique so by the end everybody is expressing themselves. Everybody is being creative and feeling comfortable to just be. 

MS: So is it a worthy kickoff for the Broadway season in Columbus?

JR: Stunning. I mean stunning passion.

AB: Quite a spectacle, yes. Lots of fun. Very creative.

JR: Very fast-paced very energized, yes absolutely.

AB: Joy and I discussed after that it'd be a fun show to see,  have a couple cocktails before, go to dinner and then go to Kinky Boots.

JR: And go with your friends. And that's really what happened there were sort of groups of people who were dressed up in their own high stilettos shoes and boots and comparing to what was happening on stage. 

MS: Thank you both very much.