Kinky Boots Digs in its Heels in Chicago at the Pre-Broadway Premiere at Bank of America Theatre.

Kinky Boots Digs in its Heels in Chicago at the Pre-Broadway Premiere at Bank of America Theatre.
Stark Sands and Billy Porter form an unlikely bond in the Pre-Broadway premiere of Kinky Boots in Chicago, Photo credit: Sean Williams.

CHICAGO, IL. Friday, October 26, 2012. The highly-anticipated Kinky Boots, the seemingly unlikely story of a fabulous drag queen performer named Lola (Billy Porter) joining forces with the somewhat naive young man Charlie (Stark Sands) to save a dying shoe factory is creating a lot of buzz in its pre-Broadway premiere at Chicago's Bank of America Theatre.

Tony® Award nominee Sands (Journey’s End; American Idiot) and Porter (Angels in America; Smokey Joe’s Café) lead a cast of thirty-two in this glitzy Broadway musical that has all the bells and whistles from the orchestra pit to the head honchos. The show features some of Broadway's biggest and brightest including: Harvey Fierstein (playwright), and author of the current smash hit Newsies and La Cage aux Follies along with Grammy and Emmy Award winning Cyndi Lauper (music and lyrics) who adds a generous helping of heart and soul in her first Broadway score and the renown director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell who is juggling his work on Kinky Boots simultaneously while developing 3 new musicals for London and Broadway.

The soul of Kinky Boots is young Charlie Price (Stark Sands), who never wanted anything to do with the family biz but is guilted into saving it and the jobs of the people who work there due to the unexpected death of his beloved father.  Help comes from the unlikeliest angel, the fabulous Lola (Billy Porter). Together, this improbable duo revitalizes the failing business, while finding a common bond as they both step out from their fathers' shadows and teach an entire community the power of acceptance along the way.

The rest of the talented cast includes Annaleigh Ashford (Rent; Legally Blonde), Celina Carvajal (Spiegelworld's Empire), Daniel Sherman (Desire Under the Elms), Marcus Neville (The Full Monty), Paul Canaan (Legally Blonde), Kevin Smith Kirkwood (How to Save the World…), Kyle Taylor Parker (In the Heights National Tour), Kyle Post (Rent), Charlie Sutton (How To Succeed...), Joey Taranto (Rock of Ages), Andy Kelso (Mamma Mia), Tory Ross (Cry-Baby), Jennifer Perry (Mamma Mia!), Josh Caggiano (Les Miserables at the Ahmanson Theatre), Aaron Bantum (Finian’s Rainbow), Adinah Alexander (The Wedding Singer), Eric Anderson (South Pacific), Eugene Barry-Hill (The Lion King), Stephen Berger (The Pajama Game), Caroline Bowman (Wicked), Sandra DeNise (Shrek the Musical National Tour), Eric Leviton (Seussical National Tour), Ellyn Marie Marsh (Priscilla Queen of the Desert), John Jeffrey Martin (Hairspray), Nathan Peck (La Cage aux Folles), Robert Pendilla (Wicked), Lucia Spina (South Pacific), Sebastian Hedges Thomas (Priscilla Queen of the Desert), Marquise Neal and Clifton Oliver (In the Heights).

The opening night audience--some dressed in their own--"Kinky Boots"-- hooted and howled showing their approval of Kinky Boots by jumping to their feet, clapping their hands to the catchy score and waving their arms in the air while giving the production an almost anonymous standing O at its' electrifying finale.

The show, although not perfect, is definitely a crowd-pleaser.  With some tweaks here and there, especially mid-second act where the show seemed to lose its footing and drag (no pun intended) a bit, it looks like Kinky Boots could be in for a long run on the Great White Way.  If you want to catch the Chicago run you better run as the show closes here on on November 4, 2012.

Tickets.

Tickets for KINKY BOOTS at the Bank of America Theatre range from $33-$100.  Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Kiosk at Water Tower Place (845 N. Michigan Ave.), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations (including Hot Tix and select Carson Pirie Scott, Coconuts and fye stores), and online.  A select number of premium seats are also available for many performances. Tickets are available now for groups of 15 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710.

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