When the announcement came that Panic! At The Disco’s Brendon Urie would be a part of the new season of ‘Kinky Boots’, the internet seemingly exploded with excitement around Brendon’s starring role as Charlie Price - which has since manifested into ticketing, with sales up 20% on what they were previously. And the excitement at Al Hirschfeld Theatre on the day of the show was just as enthusiastic, with a number of fans showing their support by wearing Panic! At The Disco merch to the performance.
The show marks Cyndi Lauper’s Broadway debut as a composer, with her composing all the music for ‘Kinky Boots’, adapted from the book by Harvey Fierstein - the story is based on the 2005 movie of the same name - and telling the story of Charlie Price, a young heir to a failing shoe factory in Northampton.
After his father passes away, he’s left to do what he wishes with the family business - and after a complete chance encounter with Lola (played by J. Harrison Ghee), a drag performer, he finds a niche market for quality heels for drag queens. And from there, the rest is history.
Within the story are jokes about drag queens without being tasteless or disrespectful, and along with Charlie learning lessons about accepting people who are different to himself, the audience go through the same journey with him. Brendon’s role as Charlie is something special - with his unique and distinctive vocals sounding better than ever on the Broadway stage, and his British accent just as flawless as all the other cast-members.
One of the show many highlight’s comes from Lauren’s (played by Taylor Louderman) performance of ‘The History Of Wrong Guys’, once she realises that she’s beginning to fall for Charlie. It’s both a relatable sentiment, and a truly hilarious and unforgettable performance.
However, there’s no denying the true star of the show - the enormous red boots which make their first appearance at the end of the first act, in ‘Everybody Say Yeah’. Designed by Gregg Barnes, the entire costuming of the show is stunning - and the boots are just as iconic as you’d imagine.
The second act continues the story of Charlie attempting to bring his business back to success, struggling with other workers in the factory, as well as a heartbreaking fight with Lola. ‘Soul Of A Man’ shows Urie’s vocals at their strongest, with a solo ballad about what it means to be a man, and how he can try to do this.
However, as in Broadway tradition, a happy ending wasn’t too far away. Closing out the show with the epic finale ‘Raise You Up / Just Be’ had the entire audience on their feet clapping along with the song - hanging onto every last word in the performance. With a standing ovation (from a matinée show nonetheless), it was clear that no-one was leaving the theatre with anything other than a smile on their face.
‘Kinky Boots’ is on Broadway until August 6th - click here for more information on the show.