Kinky Boots – Proctors Theater (Schenectady, NY), 9.10.16

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Kinky Boots was a musical that I wanted to see for a long time, but had just never gotten around to. It was always plan B – if we can’t get tickets to X, we can go see Kinky Boots. It was a backup, a fallback, something that I was interested in, but never made a priority. There’s always a show that I want to see more and Kinky Boots was perennially runner-up. Part of that was because the musical has been out for a while and I’m someone who is typically chasing “the next big thing.” Kinky Boots made a lot of noise when it debuted and won the Tony in 2013, but a lot has happened on Broadway since then. But though I took the show a bit for granted, I did want to see it. I had quite enjoyed the 2005 movie (starring Joel Edgerton and Chiwetel Ejiofor) that the musical was based on and as a child of the 80s, knowing that Cyndi Lauper did the music was a definite selling point. So when a traveling production of the show came to town this time, I decided that I was finally going to cross the show off my list. Musicals don’t run forever and I’d hate to miss out on seeing it just because I kept kicking the can down the road.

Kinky Boots tells the story of Charlie Price (Adam Kaplan), a man from a small town who has conflicted feelings about taking over the family business – a floundering shoe factory. In order to turn the business around, they need to find a new underserved niche. Enter Lola (J. Harrison Ghee) – a drag queen cabaret performer who is looking for women’s shoes that can support the weight of a man. An unlikely and uneasy partnership is formed between the two and the preconceived notions of Charlie and his staff are challenged. The musical basically hews pretty closely to the plot of the movie, so if you have seen that (and I recommend it), there won’t be a ton of surprises.

I have to say that I really enjoyed Kinky Boots; the cast overall was great, but I have to particularly single out Ghee for stealing the show. He was fantastic. Lola is the best role in the musical; while technically the role of Charlie is probably considered a co-lead, he’s just the straight man (pun intended) to the fabulousness that is Lola. She’s the heart and soul of the show and Ghee absolutely nailed it. When he’s on stage, he almost sucks up all the oxygen in the room, so it’s a testimony to the rest of the cast that they manage to prevent him from dominating the entire production. Kaplan also did a very nice job as Charlie and provided a much needed balance to the extravagance of Lola. While Lola is the showiest of the performances, other characters are also given moments to shine. Factory worker Lauren (Tiffany Engen) gets a silly little ballad about her crush on Charlie and Don (Aaron Walpole) has his own narrative arc about acceptance. There are plenty of laughs in Kinky Boots, but there are also poignant moments as well. I really liked the choreography of the show as well; in “Everybody Say Yeah” the cast does some impressive work on treadmills:

 

And hats off to Lola and her stable of fellow drag performers who did all of the fancy footwork of the show in heels that I cannot even begin to imagine wearing. There is a 100% chance that I would fall down just standing still in their shoes so I was super impressed at how flawless they all looked.

By the time the show ends with a big dance party on the stage, you can’t help but have a huge smile on your face. Everyone in the audience was on their feet, clapping along and having the best time. You walk out of Kinky Boots in a great mood and having had a fun evening/afternoon. Obviously Kinky Boots isn’t Hamilton, but I’m glad that I finally made the effort to actually see it. The music is catchy, the performances were solid and hopefully it reminds its audience that our differences matter less than our similarities (though, admittedly, I’m guessing the people who go to see Kinky Boots don’t need much of a reminder).  In my opinion Kinky Boots is one of the few musicals that has a stronger second act than first; I was entertained before the intermission, but it was the second half that really won me over. Lola is the show, but the rest of the characters more than just carry water for her. Kinky Boots is just a really good time.

Kinky Boots is currently playing at the Al Hirschfeld Theater in NYC and is on a U.S. Tour. Dates and ticket information can be found here.

 

 

 

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Feedly Down Edition

I’m beginning to think that I just wasn’t destined to put out a roundup this week. Yesterday, the website Feedly was held for ransom by some hackers, so the site and app were down all day. That’s pretty crappy regardless, but Feedly is the tool I use to compile all of the links that I then use for these posts. Of course, had I done the roundup on Wednesday as I usually do, this wouldn’t have been an issue. So I spent last night recreating a week’s worth of work, going back and trying to find all the nuggets that I had cultivated in the last seven days. I think I found most of what I wanted to cover, but I know that I missed a few things that I wanted to share. Oh well – not the end of the world. I’m just really glad to have Feedly back; I really do rely on in to keep me current.

This week’s odds and ends beat the odds to actually get done, so hopefully it was worth the extra work. As usual, if you have any suggestions of links that you’d like to see included in the next roundup, feel free to pass them along. For now, kick back and relax and get caught up on all things pop.

  • Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell may do another movie together. I like it when Walhberg is in movies that are intentionally funny.
  • Jimmy and Winnie Fallon are on the cover of People:

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  • I like how Chris O’Dowd handles losing a Tony:

  • Killer Joe and To Live and Die in LA are being adapted for television. I really liked Killer Joe, but I have absolutely no idea how they could show that on TV.
  • Well, I think my vacation plans have just been made for me – the St. Louis Cardinals are hosting Jon Hamm night in August (including a bobblehead giveaway!).

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  • “Turn Down For What” is one of my jams right now, so I totally dug these kitties enjoying the song:

 

  • Dave Chappelle discussed leaving Chappelle’s Show on Letterman Tuesday night:

 

  • I don’t want to alarm anyone, but this True Detective graffiti popped up in London:

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The Sun King lives!

  • This website has some very cool artwork created from scrap bike parts:

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  • I really hope that this grows back – I am not a fan of bald Wolverine:

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Blackbeard is born. #PAN

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  • Angelina Jolie says that a key scene in Maleficent is a “metaphor for rape.” I’m wondering what Disney thinks about that.

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  • Napoleon Dynamite turned 10 years old this week; the cast reunited to celebrate and unveil a statue:

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  • Ryan Murphy is honored as a genius at the Critic’s Choice TV Awards. I don’t think that word means what they think it means.

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Trailers:

  • A new trailer for Sin City: A Dame to Kill For:

 

  • The Penguins of Madagascar:

 

  • The trailer for Dumb and Dumber To debuted this week on The Tonight Show:

 

  • The Boxtrolls:

 

  • Ratchet and Clark:

 

  • A trailer for the new Wii U game Mario Maker:

 

  • A red band trailer for FX’s Married:

 

  • Scarlett Johansson in Lucy:

 

  • A teaser trailer for Sharknado 2:

 

  • Amy Poehler, Owen Wilson and Zach Galifianakis star in Are You Here:

 

  • James Franco and Seth Rogen in The Interview:

 

  • Nicolas Cage backstage at a Guns N Roses concert, wearing a Nic Cage t-shirt:

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Mr Nicolas Cage and Mr Andrew Dice Clay

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  • Bill Murray crashed a couple’s engagement photo. This dude is winning at life.

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  • Is it possible that in the new film that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are not teenagers?
  • RJ Mitte pays tribute to his TV dad Walter White for Father’s Day (Breaking Bad spoilers):

 

  • People in the know are aware that I have a crush on Yankee 1st baseman Mark Teixeira, but even I didn’t know that he has a fake talk show (or that he was actually kind of funny).

As always, we end with mashups and supercuts:

  • The Game of Thrones theme done Dixieland Jazz style:

 

  • A compilation of penis nicknames from movies:

 

  • Mean Girls as an 8-bit video game:

 

  • The first five minutes of 10,000 films in one YouTube video:

 

  • A compilation of all the slow motion shots in Wes Anderson films:

 

  • This trailer imagines what would happen if Michael Bay directed a Beavis and Butthead movie:

 

  • The Legend of Zelda gets the Game of Thrones treatment:

 

  • Here’s a vintage cover of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity:”

 

  • What if 50 Cent took over Angelina Jolie’s role in Maleficent:

 

  • These Game of Thrones/Disney mashups find a lot of similarities between the two universes:

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  • Check out this Terminator 2 remake in Grand Theft Auto 5:

 

  • Disney meets Doctor Who:
Stephen Byrne Facebook page

Stephen Byrne Facebook page

  • And finally, see Sir Mix-A-Lot perform “Baby Got Back” with the Seattle Symphony: