Hoopla

Walking the 'Kinky Boots' walk in Cedar Rapids and Cedar Falls this weekend

Matthew Murphy photo

The national tour of Broadway’s kicky musical, “Kinky Boots,” is coming to the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids on Friday night (2/1) and Cedar Falls for afternoon and evening performances Saturday (2/2).
Matthew Murphy photo The national tour of Broadway’s kicky musical, “Kinky Boots,” is coming to the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids on Friday night (2/1) and Cedar Falls for afternoon and evening performances Saturday (2/2).
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The audience will be in snow boots, but the actors will be kicking up their sky-high heels when the national tour of “Kinky Boots” struts into Cedar Rapids and Cedar Falls this weekend.

Described as “Broadway’s huge-hearted, high-heeled hit,” this winner of six 2013 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, features a Tony-nominated story by Harvey Fierstein and a Tony-winning pop rock score by Cyndi Lauper, with a cast recording that won a 2014 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.

The action begins in a gentlemen’s shoe factory in Northampton, England, and ends on a catwalk in Milan, Italy.

On the homefront, Charlie Price is poised to be the fourth generation to step into the family’s shoe factory, but his sights are set on accompanying his fiancee to London, and breaking into the real estate market there. However, when his father dies, Charlie is heartsick to discover the factory is on the verge of bankruptcy. The market is dwindling for well-made, expensive men’s shoes, so how could he possibly turn things around?

Fate steps in.

After Charlie saves a woman from the hands of drunks, he discovers Lola is a drag queen, teetering each night on heels not made for a man’s build. And thus their disparate worlds merge, collide and come out on top — after plenty of missteps, misunderstandings and snide remarks from factory workers wary of their new niche clientele. With conflicts and prejudices in play, the journey moves inward as the show moves along.

“This show is everything,” said Ashley North, who plays Charlie’s fiancee, Nicola, from a tour stop in West Lafayette, Ind. “It’s so funny, there’s so much to learn, there’s so many messages ...

“Harvey Fierstein is just so brilliant, he did such a great job in really sewing the messages in, all over the show. You’re gonna laugh, you’re gonna cry, you’re gonna stand up and dance, you’re gonna learn a thing or two. It’s a beautiful experience, it really is.”

The finale ties together all the themes, with all the feels.

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“We sing the six steps of happiness. That’s a really easy way to break it down,” said North, a 20-something California native now based in New York City.

“One: Pursue the truth. Two: Learn something new. Three: Accept yourself and you’ll accept others, too. Four: Let love shine. Five: Let pride be your guide. And six: You change the world when you change your mind.

“That last one is what’s driven home in the whole show,” she said. “When you open your mind and let someone be who they want to be and accept them for that, humanity grows together. We grow together as a people.”

The finale is North’s favorite part of the show because it underscores the change of heart among foreman Don and the other factory workers who initially mocked Lola and the other drag queens, and balked at making their “kinky” boots.

North loves it “when Don comes out (singing) ‘look out Milan, here comes Don,’ because every night that he comes out in the red boots, the audience just explodes,” she said.

“That explosion of applause from the audience is always like a meter of the acceptance and love from the audience. That moment’s made me cry a handful of times.”

Get Out!

WHAT: Broadway at the Paramount: “Kinky Boots”

CEDAR RAPIDS: 7:30 p.m. Friday (2/1), Paramount Theatre, 123 Third Ave. SE; $50 to $75, Paramount Ticket Office, (319) 366-8203 or Paramounttheatrecr.com

CEDAR FALLS: 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday (2/2), Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, 8392 University Ave.; $33.75 to $90.75, center box office, (319) 273-7469 or Gbpac.com

SHOW’S WEBSITE: Kinkybootsthetour.com

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

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