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Cyndi Lauper on ‘Kinky Boots,’ Family, and Frivolous Purchases

April 2, 2018 by William Ivey Long
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(Illustrated by William Ivey Long)

Cyndi Lauper’s “Kinky Boots” celebrates five years on Broadway in April, and the pop icon is also one of the songwriters for “SpongeBob SquarePants,” with a musical adaptation of the movie “Working Girl” in the works. Costume designer William Ivey Long worked with Lauper on the 1993 film “Life With Mikey,” and here she talks about her career and the importance of being yourself.

What do you want the impact of “Kinky Boots” to be?
It reminds all of us to be kind and be part of the community, and by doing that, anything and everything is possible. This message is so important right now when the world feels divisive and full of hate. Love is the answer and that is what “Kinky Boots” is all about.

What does being a working girl mean to you?
Well, I was not a very good working girl in the traditional nine-to-five office job sense… I got fired from the only office job I ever had! Women put in the work, we strive for greatness, and yet just by being female we don’t have the same opportunities or pay. This show will once again remind people that we need to look at that because the movie came out in the ’80s and things haven’t really changed.

If someone wrote a show based on your life, what you call it?
“She’s So Unusual,” or “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”

What was the best piece of advice you received when you were starting your career?
It was really the advice I got from my mother and my Aunt Gracie. They accepted me for who I was and celebrated that. You only win when you can do that I think. So I have no regrets.

What’s the best piece of advice you received recently?
Don’t talk with your mouth full.

If you’re in trouble, who’s driving the getaway car?
My husband David. We have been together for over 20 years. Through all ups and downs, we always look to each other first.

What is the last frivolous thing you bought yourself?
My face creams. Every month — and boy are they expensive.

What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
Family, friends, and health are my greatest gifts.

What was the last play or musical you saw that you loved?
“Hello, Dolly!” — it was so fantastic. The show is a reminder of great, classic musical theater, and I didn’t stop smiling the entire time.

Who — living or dead — would you most like to have dinner with?
My great-great grandmother from my mother’s side. Her name was Joan. She was the town psychic and, I hear, a really incredible woman. She lived a fascinating life and I would have a million questions for her.

What is your signature cocktail?
Tequila and soda.

What are three items you always keep in your purse?
Lipstick, hand sanitizer, and a Metrocard.

What are the words you live by?
Stay true to yourself and never give up.

Get tickets from $55 to “Kinky Boots”!

Get tickets from $49 to “SpongeBob SquarePants”!

Pick up a complimentary copy of The X Magazine with your next order of concierge-delivered tickets in New York City, or buy an issue at CultureLivesHere.com.