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Kinky Boots

To evolve in an ever-changing world, we must be adaptable. Prejudice limits our adaptability.

In this clever and heartwarming musical, the clash of vastly different worlds—a conservative British manufacturer, factory blokes, and drag queens—are challenged to work together to survive.

Kyle Taylor Parker as Lola
Kyle Taylor Parker as Lola
Photo: Matthew Murphy
Charlie Price (Steven Booth) is looking to settle in London with his materialistic girlfriend, Nicola (Grace Stockdale), when he inherits a shoe manufacturing business from his father (David McDonald). He returns to Northhampton, in the English Midlands, to try to figure out how to save the factory, which makes good quality but styleless men's shoes, and the jobs of the locals, many of whom he grew up with, including the brutish Don (Joe Coots) and the attractive and funny Lauren (Lindsay Nicole Chambers). While on a short trip to London, he intervenes when a couple of roughs start pushing around a woman, Lola (Kyle Taylor Parker), who is actually a drag queen. This leads to an elegant solution for Charlie, the workers, and Lola and her ensemble—though not without a number of obstacles that must be overcome, including the prejudice that each of parties has towards the others.

(Left to right) Kyle Taylor Parker as Lola and Steven booth as Charlie Price
(L to R) Kyle Taylor Parker as Lola
and Steven booth as Charlie Price
Photo: Matthew Murphy
The book is based on a true story that was turned into a documentary which caught the attention of Daryl Roth, a Tony Award-winning producer, and, independently, Hal Luftig, a Tony and Olivier Award-winning producer. Roth and Luftig fell in love with the story's heart and agreed to create the musical. They engaged Harvey Fierstein to write the book and, his friend, Cindy Lauper to write the music and lyrics. In 2013, Kinky Boots won six Tonys—best musical, best actor, best score, sound design, choreography, and orchestrations. Seven other nominees, including Denver native Annaleigh Ashford in the role of Lauren, did not win. Lauper's win for score was the first by a woman without a co-nominee.

The music and lyrics make this the best pop song collection in many years. The house mix is superb, with the vocals clearly separated from the orchestra—rare for musicals in the Buell.

Lindsay Nicole Chambers as Lauren and Steven Booth as Charlie Price
Lindsay Nicole Chambers as Lauren
and Steven Booth as Charlie Price
Photo: Matthew Murphy
Parker is stunning and astounding as Lola, combining powerful vocals, flashy dance numbers, and some gut-wrenching, deeply honest moments. Booth succeeds at making Charlie a sympathetic character, despite his controlling nature, and tops this off with great vocals. Chambers comedic charm makes Lauren a winsome choice for Charlie. Coots authenticity as the rough-edged Don sets up a key plot shift and heartwarming personal growth, as the ensemble sings in the finale:

"You change the world when you change your mind."

Denver Center Attraction's presentation of Kinky Boots runs through November 9th. For tickets: 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org.

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