Photo2 KinkyBootsTour PhotobyMatthewMurphy
 
The Fabulous Fox brings the multi-Tony award winning musical Kinky Boots to the Gateway City – and let me tell you, honey, it's fabulous. The show is based on the 2005 film which in turn was inspired by a true story. The book is written by Broadway legend Harvey Fierstein and the music and lyrics are written by none other than Ms. Cyndi Lauper – both of whom are royalty in the LGBT community. 
  
The story follows Charlie Price who lives in London, but is forced to return home to Northern England to take over his late father's failing shoe factory. Charlie plans to shut the factory down due to shrinking market opportunities. Fate intervenes by crossing his path with Lola, a drag queen who is in need of a stronger heel – one that can support the weight of a bloke. While these two seem worlds apart, they combine forces to try and save Charlie's factory, while along the way creating some very sexy, “kinky” boots for drag queens everywhere.  
As the production began, there was an audio issue in the opening number. Combine that with the fact that the first few short scenes didn't mesh well with one another gave the impression that this production was going to be a hot mess. Everything got on track once Charlie met Lola and things got cooking fast. Darius Harper, who plays Lola, lit the stage on fire with his infectious energy and irresistible voice. The chemistry between Harper and Steven Booth, who played Charlie, was charming as they bonded during the emotionally charged song, “Not My Father's Son.” It took a moment for the song to get its footing, but by the end, it threw a sucker punch to my emotional psyche. 
 
The highlights of the first act are the big production numbers, “Land of Lola,” “Sex is in the Heel,”  and “Everybody Say Yeah.” All of which showcased Lola and her cast of fellow drag queens known as the “Angels.” In particular, the last number which closed out the first act was musically outstanding, but it was the choreography that made it the stand out of the entire production. The second act had some enjoyable numbers, but it was evident that it was all leading up to the big finale, “Raise You Up/Just Be” which was expectedly fabulous. 
 
It would be wrong for me not to reflect on how far the LGBT community has come in the last 10 years. In 2005, same-sex marriage was only allowed in Massachusetts. The year before, Missouri voted to pass Amendment 2 which outright banned marriage equality. Also in 2005, Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal shattered the stereotypes of  the effeminate gay man as their characters fell in love in Brokeback Mountain. Look how far we have come in just 10 years!  As our date with the Supreme Court weighing the legality of  same-sex marriage bans inches closer every day, here I am sitting in The Fabulous Fox with thousands of people cheering on Lola, a drag queen who just wants to be fabulous in a great pair of heels. 
 
The message of the play, in which the only true villain is intolerance, is highlighted when Lola challenges Don, a worker at the factory, to “accept someone for who they are.” That message can – and should – break down walls everywhere. If we would just accept people for who they are instead of expecting them to be who we want them to be, the world would be a much more beautiful place. 
 
Hats off to The Fabulous Fox for taking a risk on a show of this nature proving that the LGBT community deserves mainstream acceptance. Yes, of course I know they brought in Priscilla: Queen of the Desert  a short time ago, but this show filling the seats of one of the larger theaters in our fine city gives me hope that we will achieve full equality in the (nearer than I ever thought) future. Kinky Boots seems to sum up The Fabulous Fox's overall season. It may have started off with a few kinks, but finished fabulously. 
 
Kinky Boots plays through April 5th. Please visit fabulousfox.com for show times and ticket prices
 
You can follow me on Twitter @ReviewerJim
 
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