‘Kinky Boots:’ It’s about finding the perfect pair of life’s lessons of compassion and acceptance


By Jen Furer

For 18 months, my sister (in-law) and I had been planning to see “Kinky Boots” on Broadway. Our plan was to meet in New York on a Wednesday afternoon and purchase the tickets on that day.

Last Sunday, while I was shopping for groceries in preparation for the Blizzard of 2015, my sister was excited to tell me that she got tickets – two front row seats for Wednesday, January 28th.

I had mixed emotions because there I was planning for a whole week’s Snowmageddon, while my sister probably didn’t realize a snowstorm of epic proportions was on its way to the New York area.

Needless to say, when the NJ Transit announced suspended service until Thursday, excitement turned into disappointment. Luckily, the snowstorm wasn’t as bad as predicted, and the train schedule resumed on Tuesday.

The only thing I knew about the play “Kinky Boots” was that the music and lyrics were composed by Cindy Lauper. I was a fan of Cindy Lauper. I must have listened (over and over) to her song, “Time After Time,” when I first came to America 30 years ago.

So I figured, Punk rock and Kinky — totally unconventional, right? So the play has got to be rambunctious, risqué, loud and shocking. Well, it wasn’t. Except, perhaps, if you haven’t seen a drag queen, or haven’t heard the word “sex.”

The author and her sister-in-law Mel share Bloody Marys at Iron Bar and Lounge before the show.

The author and her sister-in-law Mel share Bloody Marys at Iron Bar and Lounge before the show.

Charlie Price (played by Andy Kelso), heir to the shoe factory “Price & Son,” is facing his destiny as he tries to save the fourth-generation family-owned factory from closing. It is not a story of sequins and 6-inch heels, but a about compassion, acceptance, relationships and new beginnings. Who would have thought that there are quite a few life lessons in the play?

There is something about the play that makes you think behind the obvious. Lola (Timothy Ware), when being who she really is — the drag queen and performer — exudes confidence larger than life. However, when she tries to be someone she isn’t, such as dressing up as a man, her personality comes across as timid, suppressed and restrained.

Then, there are people who are mostly in the background, like factory worker Lauren (Jeanna De Waal), who can surprise you by their sincerity, passion and silliness. The line that touched me the most was when she is relaying the story about her father’s funeral. Lesson emphasized: It’s not about the material things left behind by our loved ones – it’s “us” that’s what matters most.

The story is about accepting who you are, valuing friendships and relationships, realizing what makes life worth living, and finding happiness. The theme of father-and-son relationship is a powerful one.

Amid my sister’s warning, I shed a few tears on top of laughter, giddiness and joy. My sister and I left the Al Hirschfeld Theatre filled with emotions.

This article is excerpted from an essay that originally appeared in the blog Gottalovemom.com.

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