Kinky Boots At The Paramount

Devin DeSantis (left) is Charlie and Michael Wordly plays Lola in Kinky Boots, running now through October 17, 2021 at Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora, IL. For tickets and information, visit ParamountAurora.com, or call the Paramount box office, (630) 896-6666. Credit: Liz Lauren.

EVERYBODY SAYS, YEAH!

After a long 18 months of theater darkness, Paramount Theater welcomed the audience back with the Broadway sensation ‘Kinky Boots!’ Based on the story about Steve Pateman and his attempt to save his family business after his father’s death.

Kinky Boots, which has been around for 16 years in film and stage, was an excellent choice by Paramount to reboot this amazing musical to preview its opening. Mostly inspired by actual events and based on the 2005 British film Kinky Boots, written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth, this musical brings love, truth, and power. It was refreshing to experience all of the glitz, glamour, glitter, and glue after a long period of darkness.

Kinky Boots follow the life of Charlie Price (Devin DeSantis). Although Charlie, an ambitious young businessman, desires to live the city life of London with his fiancé, his dreams come to a halt when he is forced to save his late father’s family business, a shoe factory, that he inherited in Northern England.

Michael Wordly (left) plays Lola and Devin DeSantis is Charlie in Kinky Boots.

After seeing a damsel in distress, Charlie attempts to rescue her; however, he seemingly needs to be saved from two blokes himself.
An unlikely partnership is formed when Charlie gains unexpected inspiration from a stranger named Lola, a drag queen (Michael Wordly), an eccentric entertainer looking for fashionable sturdy stilettos!

Charlie begrudgingly puts everything into the new avenue with Lola, wondering if his employees would trust him and if the business can survive the dramatic change from loafers to love and sex in a shoe. Together, the two men find out that they have more in common than realized and set their site on changing the world with an open mind and no judgment.

Paramount put together a stellar cast bringing the loveable characters to this delightful musical with crowd-pleasing musical numbers by Cyndi Lauper, “The Most Beautiful Thing,” “Everybody Say Yeah,” and “What a Woman Wants,” and “The Soul of a Man!”

Director Trent Stork brings the art and love of drag to the Paramount stage with vigor and robust dialogue of hard truths and soft denials. Within this ‘Welcome Back’ much-anticipated production, something that may seem old is brought back to the forefront to learn something new with much probable cause of acceptance, especially in the world we live in now.

Co-Scenic Designers Kevin Depinet and Christopher Rhoton bring commonality to the factory workers’ lives and the over-the-top theatrical beauty of drag queens on stage with just enough contrast between the two with the universality of feelings and the common traits that we all share.

Devin DeSantis (Charlie Price) is no stranger to the Paramount stage, last seen as Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid. DeSantis did an excellent job as the son who didn’t want to run the business, only coming back to help boost the deflating factory sales and to save jobs with ‘Divine Footwear!’ Charlie might seem confused and unfocused initially, but with inspiration, determination, and a little bit of drag magic, he shines as a hero in the end.

Michael Wordly plays Lola in Kinky Boots.

Michael Wordly, who has performed in Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, the 2018 US Tour of Miss Saigon, and the 2017 US Tour of The Color Purple, made his Paramount debut. Wordly splendidly portraits (Lola/Simon), a role coveted by Billy Porter, who originated “Lola” in Kinky Boots on Broadway in 2013. Wordly was terrific and made the character of a Drag Queen his own with his infectious energy throughout the production, giving you a much-needed boost of inspiration as you watched the story unfold with hope and joy.

His father trained this prizefighter, draped in satin, knows how to throw the right punch, but would prefer others to accept him, almost brought the audience to tears when singing, “Not My Father’s Son.”

As the lights darkened and the orchestra begins to play, the atmosphere from the start was electrifying, and the roar of jubilance filled the air. Then, finally, the theater was back, and for two-plus hours, life felt good again.

We are not sure this was Paramount’s thoughts; however, this was a great way to bring awareness to learning how to accept our differences during these problematic times. As we continue to fight Covid, the songs and dancing are exhilarating, bringing the joys of theater back into our hearts with glee.

Michael Wordly (left) plays Lola and Devin DeSantis is Charlie in Kinky Boots, running now through October 17, 2021 at Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora, IL. For tickets and information, visit ParamountAurora.com, or call the Paramount box office, (630) 896-6666. Credit: Liz Lauren.

Kudos to Paramount for administering a mandate that all partons wear their mask throughout the performance and requiring vaccination verification to enter. Although many have voiced their displeasure, a dark theater is never what the avid theater-goers desire, so hopefully, this will be the norm until all are vaccinated.

Let’s Play Highly Recommends Kinky Boots at the Paramount.

Let’s Play Inc,
Rick & Brenda McCain

DIRECTED BY TRENT STORK
BOOK BY HARVEY FIERSTEIN
MUSIC AND LYRICS BY CYNDI LAUPEROriginal Broadway Production Directed and Choreographed by Jerry Mitchell. Based on the Miramax motion picture Kinky Boots Written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth.
AUGUST 18, 2021-OCTOBER 17, 2021

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