By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Dismiss Notification
Close Sidebar

Spotlight Show: Learn More About Kinky Boots

9 August 2017 by Emily Moulder
Facebook icon
Share
Twitter icon
Tweet
Email icon
Email

The smash-hit musical Kinky Boots will celebrate its second birthday on 15th September, so to get a head start on the celebrations, we thought we’d take a look back at how the show came to be.

We’ll always have a soft spot for Kinky Boots – aside from being a fun and uplifting show, it was also the first production TodayTix ran a Lottery with, making it the first show to have a mobile Lottery. Find out more about the fantastic Kinky Boots with our new Insider feature, Spotlight Show.

In the factory town of Northampton, the owner of a shoe factory found himself facing the tough decision to close after poor sales. Steve Pateman was sure that his family business, WJ Brooks LTD, was done for, and after spending 23 years in the business (unlike Charlie in the musical who was new to the factory), Steve was heartbroken to see it in trouble. He told Northampton Chronicle, “There are happy and sad memories. The worst was when I had to make people redundant and break a tradition for the first time ever.”

Steve had an idea to save the factory – instead of creating men’s brogue shoes, they would corner a niche market, boots made for drag queens and transvestites, designed to carry a man’s weight.

The story of the factory and it’s difficulties were documented in a BBC show Trouble At The Top, and caught the imagination of the British public. The closing of factories has been a harsh reality for many towns, particularly in the North as companies chose machine-led workforces over manual labour, as well as cheaper imported products flooding markets. The story of a company rising to face this problem was something that people could really get behind, and movie producers saw its potential.

Photo Credit: Kinky Boots movie

Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nick Frost, Joel Edgerton and Jemima Rooper, the movie Kinky Boots became a cult classic and was one of the earlier movies which painted drag characters in a new and positive light. The movie also earned Chiewetel a Golden Globe  nomination for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for his performance as Lola, the drag queen who helped revitalise the factory with production of high heeled boots.

Seeing the film at Sundance, the Tony award-winning producer Daryl Roth secured the rights and partnered with producer Hal Luftig to bring the film to the stage, but their first challenge was to bring together a creative team. Jerry Mitchell was tapped to direct and choreograph the show, while Harvey Fierstein was brought in to write the book. Harvey had an existing relationship with the iconic pop star and lyricist Cyndi Lauper, and the two were encouraged to collaborate, he on the book of the show and Cyndi on the music and lyrics. Designer Gregg Barnes was brought on board to create the fabulous costumes, giving Lola and her group of Angels their colourful contrast to the factory workers.

With the team assembled and a cast on the way, the show was workshopped and previewed in Chicago of 2012. Variety’s review or the premiere proved the show had the legs, clad in high heels, to make a Broadway run. “There’s a spirited charm; a broad message of acceptance; a surprisingly effective, unsurprisingly bouncy score from Cyndi Lauper in her first stage effort; a lovable performance from Billy Porter as a drag performer-cum-shoe designer; and a first act that book writer Harvey Fierstein makes marvellously smooth.”

Photo Credit: Harvey Fierstein, Jerry Mitchell, Cyndi Lauper and the original cast of Broadway’s Kinky Boots. Vanity Fair.

Kinky Boots hit New York in a tornado of red glitter and glamour, wowing critics and eventually earning six Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Costume Design. It was emotional for the cast, the producers and all the creatives on the show as they experienced a dream night – a number of trophies but the acceptance of Broadway’s finest, the support of a community and the love of the fans. It’s easy to see why Cyndi Lauper was so emotional at winning her first Tony award for Best Score.

From Broadway, the show went on to open in Toronto to great acclaim, but by 2015 London was calling and Kinky Boots opened in the West End. It was exactly what fans were looking for – something big and beautiful that could, as the song goes, raise them up. It marked a few firsts too: it was the European Premiere of the show, the first West End show to have mobile barcode tickets and the first to have a mobile ticket Lottery with TodayTix.

Killian Donnelly, fresh from Memphis, took on the role of reluctant factory boss Charlie, Matt Henry, contestant on The Voice, played drag queen Lola and Amy Lennox played factory worker Lauren. The three together were a dream team and all received praise for their performances as well as Olivier nominations, with Matt taking home a trophy.

Photo Credit: Dave Benett

Fast-forward two years and the show has earned a place in the hearts of Londoners, creating a strong collection of fans who appreciate the show’s message of love and acceptance. But the show didn’t stop at London – it has now been performed in Las Vegas, Australia, Japan, Korea and is soon to Premiere in Germany!

To get to know the show even better, here are a few facts even the superfans may not know about Kinky Boots!

  1. There are a whopping 216 pairs of shoes/boots in the show.
  2. Lola, Charlie and the Angels wear the highest heels at 6″ whereas the factory workers have heels at a height 4″.
  3. Each boot featured in the grand finale, if they are laced up, have 5 metres of elastic used as a lace on each boots. Coloured elastic is used to match each of the boots’ unique design.
  4. All of the made boots have a platform ranging from 1/2″ to an 1″, some hidden, some not!
  5. Shoes and Boots can take up to a week to make a pair, dependant of the design, height and the various leather used. You can see why it’s recommended that there is a 4 month period for making boots for an entire cast.
  6. 90% of the male cast had not worn heels before appearing in Kinky Boots.
  7. Each pair of boots have been made to fit the wearer. A total of 21 measurements are taken around the foot and leg as well as an outline of the foot. Each leg is measured and can have a difference of up to a inch around the leg measurements.

You can see Kinky Boots now with exclusive £20 Lottery tickets, plus you can also book tickets up to 30 days in advance!

Want more? 11 Theatre Cosplay Looks You’ll Love!

Available On TodayTix