REVIEW: KINKY BOOTS at the Arvada Center

by Mona Lott

As everyone was leaving Kinky Boots now playing at The Arvada Center, you couldn’t help but notice most everyone was smiling and chatting about how much they had enjoyed the show. It was also noticeable that they were mostly straight older couples. If straight couples well into their sixties were enjoying Kinky Boots, then Drag Culture has definitely gone Mainstream.

The production at The Arvada Center deserves mainstream attention, accolades and so much more. Directed by Rod A. Lansbury the show is fun, bold and one of the best to come out of the center. Based on the film by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth, Harvey Fierstein wrote the book for this musical and manages to stay true to the films original story line while throwing a little Fierstein magic into it as well. It’s Cyndi Lauper though that makes this show soar. Cyndi making her Broadway debut, composed the music and wrote the lyrics for the show, and she knocks it out of the park. Her lyrics are so masterful and blend in so well that it’s hardly even noticeable that a song has started.

If you haven’t seen the movie and don’t know the plot it’s actually pretty simple. A young man inherits his father’s failing shoe factory and long-time employees convince him not to sell. There is a romance with one of the employees. Chance brings the shoe boy together with a drag queen who inspires him to make thigh high, red leather boots that support ladies who weigh as much as a man (Drag queens.) Their is friction with some of the less open minded employees, but it all comes together for a big happy ending.

If all this seems silly, just wait for the dancing chorus line of beautiful girls with a little something extra. They don’t speak, but they dance and its a blast to watch. Not to be out done, there is a chorus of salty factory workers too. Their vocals sound so good. Blending beautifully, their harmonies are top notch. When they’re not singing they’re doing some solid character work, eliciting a lot of the laughs in the show. With that being said It’s David Kaverman as Lola and Tim Howard as Charlie who have the reigns firmly in their grasp.

Kaverman makes a big entrance as Lola and tackles not only the comic moments, but also the pathos. He has that drag queen bravado down pat and you never see him falter in those heels. It’s Howard though, who you can’t take your eyes off of. Howard is so perfectly grounded in the role of Charlie that his performance needs nothing more, and if your not sold on what he’s doing, then wait for his eleven o’clock number. When he starts singing Soul of a Man it’s nice, it seems like any of the0c c other numbers Lauper wrote for this show, but Howard’s vocals start building and before you know it, he hits that high note near the end, and holds it until its echoing well into The Arvada Arts Center, motivating hoots and hollers from the audience. It’s one of the best moments I’ve seen in any show ever. It’s truly a fantastic performance.

You may not like drag, or maybe you do, but Kinky Boots is worth seeing if only for the work of Howard.

 

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