Charlie Price inherits his father’s failing shoe factory after his dad’s untimely death. Price & Son has manufactured conservative men’s shoes and boots in England for years. But now it’s obvious that the company is out of step with the times as it is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. In an effort to save the family business, Charlie teams up with Lola, a drag queen, in need of some sturdy footwear. As this unlikely pair turn the factory around they realize that they have more in common than they ever knew.
Stephen Booth is utterly charming as Charlie, our leading man who is trying to navigate the waters of business, company loyalty and love. Nothing short of fabulous as Lola, Kyle Taylor Parker glides from gowns to casual menswear with breathtaking ease. And his powerful voice and over the top charisma carry him into our hearts. Lindsay Nicole Chambers shows not only great comic ability as she reveals her love for Charlie in her song, The History of Wrong Guys but also a great voice. And Joe Coots does a nice job of playing Lola’s nemesis, Don. The equivalent of a British “the cable guy”, Don eventually learns to “recognize people for who they truly are.” Darius Harper, Tommy Martinez, Nick McGough, Ricky Schroeder, Juan Torres Falcon and Hernando Umana as the Angels (Lola’s drag queen chorus) dance up a delicious disco storm.
The set by David Rockwell is deceptively simple and totally effective. Mr. Rockwell knows that it is but the backdrop for the cascade of resplendent costumes by Gregg Barnes that will be paraded on it. (Though mention must be made of the wonderful use of the conveyor belts which is really fun.) And dare I say that the direction is perfection? Well, I dare, because it is. Jerry Mitchell knows exactly what he is doing every moment – and therefore – so does the audience. What a pleasure!
If the show were only about boots it wouldn’t be so engaging, but the book by Mr. Fierstein is layered with poignant moments from Lola and Charlie’s lives that keep us caring and cheering for the characters. And when the orchestra pumps up the volume as the Company breaks into the final number, Raise You Up -- believe me you will be – up!
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