Get our newsletters

Reimagined “Kinky Boots” opens at Bucks Playhouse

Posted

Big shows are back at Bucks County Playhouse where the Tony-winning musical “Kinky Boots” opens this weekend.

The Playhouse production brings some new elements to the “reimagined” show – winner of six Tony Awards in 2013, including Best Musical – and includes a song that was cut from the original Broadway production.

The story of an unlikely pair who work to turn around a family owned business is co-directed by Playhouse Artistic Associate Sheryl Kaller (Broadway’s “Mothers and Sons” and the Playhouse’s “Other Desert Cities”) and Hope Boykin (Alvin Ailey Dance Company and Philadanco) – and choreographed by Boykin, a two-time Bessie award winner for performance and choreography.

Bucks County Playhouse Producing Director Alexander Fraser called Kaller “an extraordinary director” and said she got very excited about doing a new production of “Kinky Boots” – and about working with Boykin, whose work she had seen, but who is new to theater.

“I think Hope, with her background in dance, will bring in a different style. I think it will be a really fun, different sensibility,” said Fraser. “I think Hope brings a real athleticism to her work, and it’s really organic. I think it’s exciting to have a dancer directing the show.”

Fraser, who was part of the production team for “Kinky Boots” on Broadway, said it was exciting for the Playhouse to stage a more recent production (something that isn’t 30 years old) for its big summer show – and to create a reimagined version.

“Having worked on it, there were some things I thought would be fun to try that weren’t done on Broadway,” he said. Fraser was careful, however, not to divulge too much about the reimagined show, preferring instead to let viewers watch it unfold. Nevertheless, he did say, “ …we have cast a very different kind of man to play Lola.”

“Kinky Boots” is based on a 2005 film of the same name. When Charlie Price’s father dies suddenly, he inherits the family business – a shoe factory on the verge of bankruptcy. Trying to live up to his father’s legacy and with nowhere to turn, Charlie finds inspiration in Lola, an entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos. As they work to turn the factory around, they find they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible.

With music and lyrics by Grammy and Tony winning composer Cyndi Lauper, and a book by Tony-winner Harvey Fierstein, the Playhouse production of “Kinky Boots” stars Richard E. Waits (Mama Rose at LaMaMa) as Lola with Jimmy Brewer (Off-Broadway, “Scotland, Pa”) as Charlie.

The production also features Scarlett Walker (Broadway’s Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel”) as Lauren, Mikaela Nina Secada (Kennedy Center’s “Beastgirl”) as Nicola, Michael Thatcher (“The Play That Goes Wrong”) as Don, and David LaMarr (“Jersey Boys” National Tour) as George.

The show includes Lauper’s song “So Long Charlie,” which wasn’t used in the Broadway production, because it was a big song by a minor character, said Fraser, who added, “I just love that song.”

“We were thrilled that Harvey and Cyndi gave us a song that wasn’t used on Broadway, giving our audiences a chance to hear something new,” said Kaller. “‘So Long Charlie,’ was written for the character of Nicola and we love it because it spoke to both of us about her character. It verbalizes what she wants and is an opportunity to take this character and flesh her out more.”

Speaking about getting financial backing for the show on Broadway, Fraser said, “No one was interested in a show that had ‘kinky’ in the title.” Group sales was also worried a show with that word in the name wouldn’t sell, he said, but Producer Daryl Roth loved the title and wouldn’t change it.

The irony, said Fraser, is “it was never a problem – ever.”

“Kinky Boots,” the Playhouse’s first big musical production since the pandemic, also marks the return of the Playhouse’s Apprentice Program, which started in the 1940s and relaunched in 2016. The show previews June 24, with an opening performance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 25, and runs through July 30. Tickets start at $70. Visit buckscountyplayhouse.org or call 215-862-2121.

jarthur@buckscountyherald.com


X