Coronary heart and sole: Brüka Theatre places its finest foot ahead for Artown with beloved musical ‘Kinky Boots’

Two days earlier than the opening-night efficiency of Kinky Boots at Brüka Theatre, I used to be having dinner with colleagues.

Certainly one of them, whom I don’t know nicely, determined this was a superb time to plunge into the controversial subject of transgender girls utilizing girls’s public restrooms—particularly, that simply because such people had “determined” they had been girls, they didn’t have a proper to invade girls’s loos. To keep away from an unpleasant confrontation at a piece occasion, I merely mentioned, “I actually disagree with you,” and turned to speak to another person.

It was prescient, I suppose, that I’d simply purchased tickets for myself and my household for Kinky Boots. Though the stage musical is a decade previous and was impressed by a 2005 movie of the identical title, the problems this story raises—and its relevance to energetic discussions, just like the one I simply described, and the furor over drag queen story hour—are hanging. In reality, it couldn’t have been higher timed for Brüka’s thirtieth season to wrap with this heartwarming extravaganza of a present, for which the rights had been solely simply launched to small, native theaters.

Impressed by true occasions, this musical by Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper tells the story of Charlie Worth (performed by Michael Davanzo), inheritor to the Worth and Co. males’s shoe manufacturing facility, who resents being compelled to … nicely, fill his father’s footwear after the previous man (Rodney Hurst) dies and leaves him to run the failing enterprise.

When the corporate’s greatest buyer cancels all its orders, Charlie should discover a strategy to unload his stock and provides his workers the boot—until he can reinvent the corporate to focus on a distinct segment, underserved market. Depressing about his work and his always-disappointed fiancée, Nicola (Kristina Worthley), Charlie stumbles into an alley and encounters a lady being assaulted. However this lady is definitely a drag queen named Lola (John Paul Rivard). The assault left one among her high-heel footwear damaged, and Lola remarks that there appear to be no boots able to dealing with her.

Charlie follows Lola right into a membership and watches her carry out with 5 different queens, the Angels. He turns into fascinated by her power, expertise and style. Immediately, a lightbulb switches on in his thoughts: Lola and her Angels are his area of interest market. Together with her enter and killer model, Worth and Co. might reinvent itself.

The 2 have much more in frequent than footwear, it seems. When not in drag, Lola is Simon, and deep down, he’s nonetheless the weak, misfit boy who desperately craved his father’s approval—and by no means obtained it. Because the story unfolds, Charlie and his workers should reckon with their very own concepts of gender, acceptance and what “being a person” actually means.

When Rivard takes the stage as Lola, the entire room lights up. He’s magnetic. He’s not solely hilarious and gifted at delivering one-liners; his gorgeous, massive, soulful voice knocked my socks off (so to talk). His duet with Davanzo, “Not My Father’s Son,” moved me to tears. Davanzo can also be to be recommended for his sturdy, succesful voice in some difficult songs.

I can’t overlook the spectacular Angels, performed by Stephen Moore, John Wade, Tom Cruz, AJ Clopton and James Escobedo. Not solely did they pull off their drag characters with monumental coronary heart, wit and unflagging power, however they did it whereas carrying heels that made me pale with disbelief.

Kinky Boots is a difficult present, regardless of the way you slice it. It requires sturdy vocal talents, and some forged members fall brief right here. In a few locations, the singing appeared out of sync with the music, and a few notes merely couldn’t be hit. And I’m in settlement with many theater critics who spotlight the script’s tendency to make sudden, unexplained shifts in character and story which might be onerous to swallow.

However these minor kinks in Kinky Boots ought to by no means hold you from having fun with this really pleasant, heartfelt, humorous present. It’ll simply make you are feeling good.

Kinky Boots is carried out at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday via Saturday; and a pair of p.m., Sunday, via Saturday, July 22 (there are not any reveals on July 5 and July 9), at Brüka Theatre, 99 N. Virginia St., in Reno. Tickets are $33 with reductions upfront. For tickets or extra info, name 775-323-3221, or go to bruka.org.


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