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Kinky Boots
Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots
Cadillac Palace Theatre
Jul 7 - Jul 26, 2015

Show Information

Cadillac Palace Theatre

Chicago Tribune- Highly Recommended

"... A warm, likable, brassy, sentimental, big-hearted and modestly scaled Broadway musical, “Kinky Boots” updates the issues of “La Cage Aux Folles,” touts acceptance and tolerance, stands behind a fresh-and-zesty Cyndi Lauper score, rolls out some mighty fine drag queens (with none of Arthur Laurents' infamous female interlopers) and adds a dose of “Billy Elliot“-esque, Brit-style, emotional-industrial grit, only without the off-putting profanity and the raw politics. “Kinky Boots” won't change the Broadway world but it has the Chicago tryout audience on its side right from the shoe factory's first whir. And where Chicago goes first, New York usually follows."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Reader- Recommended

"...The factory's straight-arrow owner teams up with Lola to expand into high-end fetish footwear. The premise may be relevant to our shitty economic moment, but don't look for any austerity in this glitter-clogged, Broadway-bound show. Adapting a 2005 movie, Harvey Fierstein supplies a script that oscillates between cornpone and one-liners, while Cyndi Lauper's score bullies you into self-acceptance with one empowerment anthem after another. Be yourself or else."
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Zac Thompson

Windy City Times- Highly Recommended

"...The propulsion owes its momentum to composer/lyricist Cyndi Lauper's lovingly crafted score ranging from introspective ballads like "I'm Not My Father's Son" and "Hold Me in Your Heart" (the latter a shoo-in for the wedding/cabaret/contest-show circuit) to strut-time anthems like "I Come to the Rescue" and the adrenaline-pumping "Raise You Up" finale. The solo vocalists—notably Stark Sands, Billy Porter and Annaleigh Ashford—acquit themselves impressively on songs written for Lauper's own multiple-octave range. Director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell's utilization of his environment—in particular, conveyer-belts that quickly transform into vogue-worthy treadmills—likewise keeps the visually sensual Victorian-ornate stage picture vibrant throughout."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Centerstage- Recommended

"...All in all, however, Mr. Fierstein's book beautifully tells the story with plenty of heart. Ms. Lauper's score may be one of the strongest I've heard recently. Jerry Mitchell's direction and choreography is masterful. Yet the show belongs to Mr. Porter as Lola, fully in command at all moments, with a signing voice that will leave you breathless. If you want to get a look at a legitimate Tony Award contender, head down to the Bank of America Theater before November 4."

Joseph Bowen

Time Out Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...Director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell stages the show with admirable creativity; the first-act closer "Everybody Say Yeah" makes more dynamic use of the factory's conveyor belts than an OK Go video. Porter, meanwhile, gives a powerhouse performance as Lola, channeling Whitney Houston in his stunning musical numbers. It's a shame his character feels a bit sanitized in his nonmusical scenes opposite the factory workers and Charlie, as compared to Chiwetel Ejiofor's more jagged Lola in the film, but that's something the creative team can still work on. Appealing everyguy Sands and Annaleigh Ashford, as Charlie's love interest, do fine work in comparatively thankless roles (Ashford comes delightfully close to derailing the whole show with her comic number "The History of Wrong Guys"). There's refining yet to be done, but these Boots were made for strutting."
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Kris Vire

ShowBizChicago- Highly Recommended

"... Director and Choreographer Jerry Mitchell is right at home with Kinky Boots. The material at hand is perfect fodder for Mr. Mitchell to develop the environment to allow his actors to find their truth. This is not an easy task when you have these types of pre-determined characters. However, Mr. Mitchell digs behind the obvious grandeur to find the nuanced reality of compassion that makes the two lead characters real. He also has created one of the best dance numbers ever seen on stage with the rousing “Everybody Say Yeah” which places the cast, many in high heels, on synchronized conveyer belts."
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Michael Roberts

Stage and Cinema- Somewhat Recommended

"...Shortfalls lurk throughout the story: Why is there no attempt to explore and celebrate the common ground of hard luck and social prejudice that could bond the shoe company workers with the drag queens who descend on their factory? (Something like, "The Workers and the Drag Queens Should Be Friends," maybe?) Why should we get from the start that Charlie's girlfriend will dump him ("So Long, Charlie") and why does that pushy girlfriend suddenly show up at the Milan fashion show (the flamboyant ending) when she and Charlie parted company long before? Why does so much of this feel like it was NOT based on a true story?"
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Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic- Somewhat Recommended

"...Once the creatives cut, revise, and tighten things, Kinky Boots will emerge as another sweet commercial hit. Art it is not but then again sometimes we just want to have a good time at a show. For pop/rock disco drag queen fans Kinky Boots fits just fine."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Now- Recommended

"...While I'm sure the show will more charges before it bows on Broadway next spring, it is definitely worth seeing in its current state. It's a fun-time, feel good show and will have you on your feet at the end---and not just to leave the theatre."
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Richard Malone

Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended

"... Get ready, Broadway! Another new musical is making waves in Chi-town and lucky New York gets another major musical, “Kinky Boots the Musical” based on the “cult” film of the same name written by Tim Firth and Geoff Deane, has been taken to a new level, one that will start a whole new class of followers, tanks to the creative minds of Harvey Fierstein (book) and Cyndi Lauper ( music and lyrics). This smashing, energetic re-telling of the story, sharply directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, is sure to set New York audiences “on their heels”!"
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago- Somewhat Recommended

"..."Kinky Boots," at its best, is great fun. And my laundry list of reservations should not be seen as a vendetta against a wholesome good time, but as an appeal for a beating heart and a grounding soul in its eventual final product. As Fierstein has proven time and again, there is plentiful room for both fun and depth in an evening of theater. Though Lauper's toe-tapping score leaves much to be desired in the areas of tunefulness and plot integration and Jerry Mitchell's choreography is cluttered with ceaseless arm flagellations, the chief suspect here is Fierstein's set 'em up, knock 'em down book, more concerned with getting the laugh than building sympathetically believable characters. There is much work left to do, and these heavyweight talents have until April 4 to iron out the kinks."
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Johnny Oleksinski

Chicago Theatre Review- Recommended

"... Although “Kinky Boots” is enjoying its pre-Broadway tryout, there’s a lot to like in this musical the way it is. True, there will probably be some changes made before the show reaches the Big Apple, but the production that Chicago is presently enjoying absolutely kicks butt and proves that “Sex is in the Heel.”"
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Colin Douglas

Huffington Post- Recommended

"...Aside from Porter and Lauper, the show has the added benefit of Jerry Mitchell's high-spirited direction and choreography. Mitchell, a dancer by trade, knows how to keep things fluid, fun and human-scale, which is essential for retaining the core of this fast-moving show. And I couldn't imagine a more perfectly suited book writer than Harvey Fierstein, who knows a thing or two about crafting heartfelt, theatrical stories involving queens, comedy and community."
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Bob Bullen