Home » Section 4A, Entertainment Feature, Latest Issue » Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper’s Kinky Boots returns to San Diego!

Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper’s Kinky Boots returns to San Diego!

The National Tour of Kinky Boots | PHOTO: MATTHEW MURPHY

The award-winning musical’s message of love and acceptance for all is now more important than ever.

Kinky Boots, the multiple Tony Award winning show written by Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein, will be coming back to San Diego at the Civic Theatre. The show will be here for only six performances from Thursday March 9 through Sunday March 12.

Kinky Boots was inspired by true events and was a film first, then became the surprise toast of Broadway in 2012 starring Broadway veteran Billy Porter.

Take a journey with Charlie, a struggling son, who tries to live up to his deceased fathers dreams by bringing his struggling men’s shoe factory back to it’s glory days. Help comes to Charlie in the unlikely form of a well-known drag queen, Lola, who needs a good sturdy pair of stilettos. With Lola’s help Charlie goes from Northampton to Milan, but not without some troubles along the way.

Rose Hemingway in the National Tour of Kinky Boots | PHOTO: MATTHEW MURPHY

The first national tour started in 2014 with San Diego being its second stop and played to sold out houses. The show was nominated for 12 Tony Awards and won six including Best Musical, Best Actor (Billy Porter) and Best Original Score written by Lauper.

The tour gracing the Civic Theatre’s stage will star Jim J. Bullock who became a household name in the 1980s hit sitcom Too Close For Comfort. He plays the part of George, the factory manager who helps bring Lola’s design to light.

Many would think Bullock was bitten by the acting bug as a child, but he grew up Baptist and went to a Baptist college where acting, needless to say, wasn’t a priority.

“I grew up in a Baptist church,” Bullock said. “Youth choir and music was everything in my early life. I loved it and still do. Well … some of it. I wasn’t exposed to theater until high school. But from my senior year in high school and through my two years of college it was all I thought about. I went to a Baptist college so again my experience and exposure to theater was limited but I had wonderful encouraging teachers and did as much as I could do. I look back at my young self with wonder. I didn’t know shit about anything but I had heard this calling and had to follow. I moved out to L.A. without knowing a soul after my sophomore year at OBU (Oklahoma Baptist University) with $1,500 in my pocket, completely clueless with a dream and absolutely fearless … or stupid.” Bullock credits his style of humor to some of Hollywood’s most notable comedians. “I loved Paul Lynde,” Bullock shared. “He had a huge impact on my humor and at one time I could do a pretty good impression but, I have always found women to be funnier than men, even to this day. I loved Carol Burnett and always dreamed of being on her show. Unfortunately, variety shows like The Carol Burnett Show were out of vogue by the time I got to Hollywood but I did get to be on a sort of variety show with Hollywood Squares.

Jim J. Bullock

The opportunity to do Kinky Boots was brought to Bullock when the tour was first sent out on the road in 2014. He was contacted by his agent and auditioned for the show, but was unaware the show even existed.

“I knew nothing about the show,” Bullock admitted. “My agent got me an audition for Kinky Boots when they were in L.A. casting for the tour. They liked what I did and I was invited to call backs in N.Y.C. I didn’t get it. I was devastated. I wanted and needed that job! I went back to L.A. and a year and a half later my agent called and said they want you for the tour. For a year! When I was in high school I had a poster in my room that said, ‘If you love something, set it free; if it comes back it’s yours, if it doesn’t it never was.’ I also had a poster that said ‘Love Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry.’ That one is just stupid but the other is very true. A year and a half later I truly had let it go and moved on and out of the blue, bam! It happened. So true to life.”

Playing the part of Lauren, a factory worker and love interest in the show, is Rose Hemingway. Hemingway is no stranger to national tours having been in Mama Mia playing the role of Sophie. “She also had the pleasure to play Rose Mary in the Broadway revival of How To Succeed In A Business Without Really Trying with Daniel Radcliff of Harry Potter fame.

“Dan definitely has the greatest work ethic of anyone I know,” Hemingway said. “He worked so hard to be able to hold his own with an ensemble of Broadway dancers. I do vividly remember coming in and getting to watch them work on Brotherhood of Man choreography and being so impressed with how great he [Dan] was in that number! And he nailed it every single night!”

Curt Hansen in the National Tour of Kinky Boots | PHOTO: MATTHEW MURPHY

Much like Bullock, Hemingway was influenced by some of Hollywood’s heaviest hitters.

“I was pretty heavily inspired by the movie musical greats, like Judy Garland, Debbie Reynolds, Barbra Streisand, etc.,” Hemingway admitted. “Long before I ever got to see a live musical, I had seen tons of movie musicals on repeat, and those women were my frame of reference for performance. When I first started taking voice lessons I can remember trying my best to sound like Liz Callaway. One of my music teachers in high school let me listen to his copies of her albums and I thought (still think) she has the most flawless sound to her voice, and I wanted to have it too!”

Hemingway was raised Catholic and watched little to no television. The only outlet she had was something called “coffee table musicals” where the young Hemingway would literally perform on a coffee table.

“Ha ha! Yeah, I grew up watching tons of movie musicals (because they were deemed wholesome enough by my dad,” Hemingway said. “My sisters and I would often put on little shows with big dance numbers. We had an Andrew Lloyd Webber greatest hits CD that was played and played until it was all scratched up and useless. But of all my siblings, only my younger brother is involved in the arts. He is studying film editing and direction in college. And the rest of them are always loving as supportive audience members!”

The National Tour of Kinky Boots | PHOTO: MATTHEW MURPHY

One thing both Bullock and Hemingway agree on is the message of how important and relevant it is to be accepted as who you are, which is the main theme of the show. It’s a theme that, given the state of the country today, speaks to many.

“I most definitely feel the urgency of this message right now,” Hemingway said. “I think the entire company can feel that. I am honored to be able to spread a message of love and acceptance not only for those out there across the country who are feeling marginalized and threatened, but also for those people who may see our show and find their minds opening because of it. Just last week a man spoke with some of our cast after the show about how the performance had helped him to understand more fully and accept his daughter who had recently come out to him. It is such an amazing thing to have played a small part in that!”

Bullock echoed Hemingway’s sentiments. “More now than ever!” Bullock added. “We are all the same. We all need to forgive and be forgiven. We all want and need to be accepted. We all need to love and be loved.”

Kinky Boots tickets can be purchased online at broadwaysd.com, Ticketmaster or by calling the Civic box office at 619-570-1100.



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Posted by on Mar 2, 2017. Filed under Section 4A, Entertainment Feature, Latest Issue. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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