timberland chocorua trail Boots Charms Shubert Audiences
In its second visit to the state within a year, the national tour of “Kinky Boots” remains slinky, kinky, boot iful and bountiful.
When this energetic gender identity celebration was in Hartford last June, The Bushnell booking coincided with the Supreme Court’s same sex marriage decision.
This time the show at New Haven’s Shubert Theatre loudly proclaiming “drag queens are mainstream” and addressing audiences as “ladies, gentlemen and those who have yet to make up their minds” visits during a national debate on transgender use of public restrooms.
In other respects, “Kinky Boots” doesn’t seem timely at all. It’s got a classic plot about social tolerance, a score by ’80s new wave icon Cyndi Lauper that’s steeped in disco and R rhythms,
and a setting that touches on two grand historical traditions the shoemaking industry of England’s East Midlands and the drag culture of London.
Not all touring shows are well suited to the Shubert, one of the smallest stages on the circuit. But despite its deep performance area and complex multi level sets, “Kinky Boots” fits the New Haven venue like, well, a comfortable shoe.
Closer at hand, the big dance numbers have more energy, especially the one where assembly line conveyor belts become platforms for an OK Go like treadmill routine. The front of stage second act torch song “Hold Me in Your Heart” is overpowering in a space this intimate.
That’s an overlooked attribute of “Kinky Boots.” Yes, the entrancing chorus of drag queens and some breathtaking thigh high boots get most of the attention. But this show features a stage full of performers who look nothing like the idealized Broadway types we’re so used to.