Broadway play comes to Kingston for one night only

Kinky Boots steps into Limestone City on North American tour 

Credit: 
Matthew Murphy

In Kingston for one night only, Kinky Boots asked viewers to consider the question: What makes a man?

On April 24, the Broadway production of Kinky Boots came to Kingston on their North American tour. Produced by Troika Entertainment and True North Touring, the play is currently being performed for crowds in smaller cities all across Canada and the US.  

The Journal previously interviewed chorus member, Mitchell Matyas, who said the play has been resonating with small crowds just as well as it does with large crowds in New York City. 

For Matyas, the message of the play centers around acceptance of all people, regardless of race, sexuality, or gender identity. 

Through the budding friendship of drag queen, Lola, and shoe factory owner, Charlie, the musical explores the meaning of manliness through the production of boots—specifically, “kinky boots." 

In the musical, high-heeled footwear is made to support the weight of a man, because Lola’s heels keep breaking when she’s dancing onstage. 

 When Charlie runs into financial trouble and isn’t sure if he’ll be able to keep his shoe factory afloat, he stumbles upon Lola, who inadvertently gives him the answer to all his problems. 

Photo by Matthew Murphy 

Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Charlie ceases production of the men’s work shoes nobody is buying and starts catering to a niche demographic—drag queens.

By manufacturing a new product, Charlie opens his factory up to a world of new buyers, saving his father’s business. However, making these new boots proves more challenging than anticipated. 

Working with the drag queens from Lola’s club is a learning experience for Charlie and the other factory workers. One worker in particular, Don, insults Lola by claiming she isn’t a “real man.” Lola responds by telling him that a real man is someone who can accept another person for who they are without passing judgement. 

By Lola’s standards, a real man is a good man. This drives the overarching theme of the play: acceptance. If Don can accept Lola for who she is and Lola can accept Don despite his ignorance, then they’re all real men.

Charlie—who proves himself to be a good man by the end of the play—tries to save his company by walking a fashion show catwalk in his own kinky boots. He can’t walk in the shoes, but his efforts move Lola to step in and support him. 

Charlie’s willingness to embarrass himself in front of a crowd to save his factory makes the show’s finale all the more satisfying. 

The play closes with Charlie, who’s still getting the hang of walking in the boots, dancing with the Angels, front and centre. 

The audience at the Leon’s Centre gave a standing ovation which lasted through the whole song.

The venue’s atmosphere was noticeably different at the end of the play than at the start. The theme of tolerance, coupled with the energy of the dance numbers and the calibre of talent, resonated with the crowd. 

Out of the arena and onto the sidewalks, audience members danced and sang as they headed to their cars. 

By asking, “What makes a man?” the cast of Kinky Boots was able to send the audience home with a deeper message of acceptance and love. 

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