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Kinky Boots: Tony Nominated Show Review

IN THE June 5 ISSUE

FROM THE 2013 Articles,
andArts & Entertainment
SECTIONS

by Ashley Taylor

With the Tony Awards this weekend–we thought it would be fun to share reviews of a couple of the nominated shows! Check out the Tony Awards website to learn more.

I feel like I was just hit in the face with glitter and feelings.

That’s literally what I said as I left the theater.

I went into Kinky Boots not really knowing what to expect. I’d read a very minor plot synopsis, but decided to just experience the show completely raw, with no research or “online previews,” (since it’s so rare anymore that I get to do that). I am SO glad I did. This show is electric. (It didn’t hurt that we had incredible seats in a standing-room-only house, a mere week after the Tony nominations were announced). The energy in the room from all sides was just palpable.

Kinky Boots

So here’s my take on the acting nominations…

Annaleigh Ashford. She’s fantastic. A friend of mine said watching her in this role made you think, “Yup. That is a Tony-worthy performance.” And it’s true. Her comedy is specific, finely-tuned and perfectly ridiculous. She’s brilliant. Do I think she’ll win? I don’t know– her category is pretty insane this year. But I’d love to see her take it. She’s awesome.

Stark Sands. I’m going to be honest here, so stay with me. Before I saw the show, I was a little surprised to see both male leads nominated. Intrigued, but surprised. And by the end of Act 1… I was still sort of wondering. I mean, it’s a great performance, but it wasn’t blowing me away. But then… Act 2 happened. Stark Sands sings a song called “Soul of a Man,” and it’s a moment I will never forget. It was just him, alone on a stage, singing his heart out, complete with an ugly cry and something I can only describe as “totally honest jerky-movement crying.” The applause after that number literally stopped the show, and I said as I was clapping, (after a few curse words), “Okay, I get it. Yup.” He was fantastic.

But that leads me to…

Billy Porter. Okay, full disclaimer– I didn’t get to see Matilda. And I’ve heard that Bertie Carvel is amazing in it. But… Billy Porter is literally in the role of a lifetime. (I mean, I’m sure Bertie is too. And apparently drag is verrrrry hip this year). But… it just has to be Billy, right? I mean, it’s just silly how good he is in this show. He’s perfect. But his best moment may not even be the glitz and the glamour of Lolo, whom he’s carved out so impeccably. The moment that sealed it for me is this simple song in the middle of Act 1 called “I’m not my Father’s Son.” It is a gut-punch in the middle of a glitter fest– you don’t really see it coming until it’s too late, and by then you’re crying. I mean… It’s got to be Billy, right?

Okay, final thoughts on the show– super-fun, uplifting, empowering piece that makes you stand up and cheer. If you’re in the area, do yourself a favor and see it. I say this to every single person– it is so much fun, and so much heart, and… it’s glitter and feelings.

Ashley Taylor is a TV news producer by day and an actor by night. She recently returned from a whirlwind trip to New York that was filled with shows, inspirado and very little sleep.

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