“Kinky Boots” starts Portland’s musical season with glitz and glamour

From the moment the actors took place Keller Auditorium’s stage in downtown Portland, “Kinky Boots” was a flashy riot. As the winner of a 2013 Tony award for Best Musical, musical goers like myself were thrilled to hear the “Kinky Boots” tour would be coming to Portland. The storyline was taken from the 2005 cult movie of the same name while the music was composed by pop icon Cyndi Lauper.

The story takes place in Northampton England during present day. It follows a man named Charlie, played by Steven Booth, who involuntarily inherits his father’s shoe factory, Price and Sons. But there is one catch–the shoes are out of style and the company is falling into bankruptcy. Through a series of events, Charlie comes in contact with a drag queen named Lola, played by Kyle Tyler Parker, who comes up with the brilliant idea of making gaudy boots for drag queens all over Europe. With the help of the Price and Sons workers they make it into a thriving business.

“Kinky Boots” begins and ends with powerful music numbers. Of course the whole cast has show-stopping vocals, but Parker was the finest performer on stage. Parker’s character sings about being fabulous in “Land of Lola” but also opens up and sings about her absent father in “Not My Father’s Son” with the equally charming Booth.

The only problem I had with “Kinky Boots” was the personality given to Lola. His drag queen profession made him a flashy performer but at times it was too much. He would prance around a lot and make sassy comments constantly, he was a little too trite in his presentation.

Most of the songs performed gave me chills; part of that was thanks to Lauper’s fun and even provocative songs. Through the usage of synthesizer sounds and hints of rock, she gave “Kinky Boots” a twinge of 1980s ballad which played along great with the flashy theme.

“Kinky Boots” is an entertaining comedy with a great message about accepting yourself and others. I give it a B because it was lively all the way through, despite a few cliches regarding drag queens.