PHOTO: Kyle Taylor Parker is fourth from the right in this scene from Kinky Boots, and at center in photo below. Photographer: Mathew Murphy
Review Update: Kinky Boots opened in Portland to a packed Keller Auditorium. The show fully lives up to its promise, with incredible music, dancing and acting. For sheer uplift and enjoyment it doesn't get better than this. Kyle Taylor Parker is magnetic as drag queen Lola. And his performance is matched by Stephen Booth as Charlie, as well as the rest of this accomplished cast. Funny and fun, the story has a deeper, heartwarming message about fathers, family and acceptance. From the sets and the costumes to the music and singing, it's no surprise this production won six Tony awards. You might find yourself feeling an urge to buy some colorful kinky boots. Helen Silvis
Portland Sept. 29--Tony-winning musical Kinky Boots kicks off the Northwest leg of its national tour in Portland, Wednesday Oct 1. Harvey Fierstein provides the story and Cyndi Lauper the acclaimed music. See it at Portland’s Keller Auditorium from Oct 1-5 before it heads to Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, where it will run from Oct. 7 to Oct. 26.
According to the playbill, Kinky Boots follows the fortunes of Charlie Price, a man who has inherited a nearly bankrupt shoe factory. It’s based on a true story from England, which is why it features boots the colors of the British flag, among other stunning footwear. Charlie sets out to save the business and gets inspired when he discovers Lola, a fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy --and sultry --stilettos. As they work to turn the factory around, two very different characters discover some similarities.
Starring as Lola is Kyle Taylor Parker, who took on the role after playing the role of an Angel (named after the nightclub where the Angels perform, the Blue Angel) and also being understudy for Lola in the Broadway show. The Skanner talked to Parker about the role, and those Kinky Boots.
TS: How are you enjoying the show so far?
KTP: It’s a dream. It’s really a dream come true. We’ll be on the road for a year, 52 weeks, 400 performances, and I’m just really excited to go all over the nation.
Have you been to the Northwest before?
KTP: No I haven’t and I’m really excited I’ve heard beautiful things. I’ll definitely have to do some research when I get there. My trick for finding out the hottest spots in town is to ask the local crew members. So as soon as I get to Portland I’ll be asking the local crew what I should be getting into ...in my very little free time. I’ll definitely try to do great things while I’m in Portland.
TS: Would your mom be surprised to see you starring as Lola?
KTP: I don’t think so. I think I would be surprised, but I don’t think my mother would be!
Because from the time I was born, I always wanted to be in musical theater. I saw Annie when I was a kid on Broadway and I told my mother that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I put on little shows. I would make up plays. I would try to imitate commercials that came on. I was so obsessed and in love with the art that is acting and musical theater.
TS: Do you have a favorite costume?
KTP: I’m not sure I have a favorite costume because all of the costumes are just incredible.
And then there are the other stars of the show, the kinky boots. I can tell you that each pair of boots is custom-made to fit our feet. So the boots I wear fit me perfectly. And that makes it much easier to dance in stiletto heels eight times a week.
TS: What else would you want people to know?
KTP: People can follow the show as we tour our way around the country through my video blog at kinky nation. I’m making a video in every city we visit and I take you behind the scenes to meet the cast and crew.
Follow Kyle on twitter @KTPway Find more at http://www.kyletaylorparker.com/
Kinky Boots is playing at the Keller Auditorium 222 SW Clay St. in Portland from Oct. 1-Oct. 5 and at The 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 5th Avenue in Seattle from Oct. 7-Oct. 26.