Kick off the Summer Season with Engeman’s Sizzling Production of Kinky Boots

By Cindi Sansone-Braff - Smithtown Matters


The John W. Engeman Theater’s sizzling production of Kinky Boots held the audience spellbound from the moment the cast stepped on stage to the phenomenal finale. This high-energy, high-spirited, high-heeled extravaganza runs through July 3.


In 2013, Kinky Boots, the Broadway musical, won every major award, including the Tony® Award for Best Musical! The source material for this show came from Tim Firth and Geoff Deane’s 2005 British movie which was inspired by true-life events. The fabulous pop, new wave, funk, and tango songs are by the unforgettable 80s icon Cyndi Lauper, and the book is by the beloved Broadway legend Harvey Fierstein.


This big-hearted musical revolves around Charlie Price, a man who reluctantly inherits a shoe factory from his father. To save the business from bankruptcy, he partners with Lola, a drag queen, to create a line of sexy, over-the-top, high-heeled boots.


Kyle Dixon has created a fun-to-watch, flexible, multi-level set design with slides, steps, and plenty of moving parts that allow the cast to strut their stuff in style. The glamorous costumes, wigs, and outlandish boots were stars themselves; therefore, Kurt Alger deserves a standing ovation for designing them. Natalie Malotke’s outstanding choreography gave this show an intense physical dynamism that sustained itself throughout the production.

Omari Collins ultimately powers the show as Lola, the cabaret performer and drag queen. Mr. Collins is a triple threat with his tremendous acting, dancing, and singing skills. He showcased his powerhouse vocals during the sassy “Sex Is in the Heels” number. Joined by his entourage of drag queen dancers, known as Angels, this scene was a real showstopper. Just walking on six-inch stilettos can be an athletic event, but the way Lola and the Angels danced in them, well, seeing that was worth the ticket price alone. Mr. Collins, wearing a dazzling white gown, gave a heartrending performance of the sublime and deeply moving song “I’m Not My Father’s Son.” He was then joined by Zach Hess as Charlie Price, who further knocked this moving ballad out of the ballpark. This revelatory moment helped cement their business relationship when they both realized that they were struggling with the same issue: how to assert their true identities despite their fathers’ expectations.

Zach Hess shines in the role of Charlie Price, the straight-laced factory owner who doesn’t necessarily want to follow in the footsteps of his father. Mr. Price was portrayed with all the power of a true patriarch by the very talented David McDonald. Mr. Hess’s voice was perfect as he belted out the pop-infused tune “The Soul of a Man.” Mr. Hess’s Charlie. had palpable onstage chemistry with Lily Kaufmann as Lauren, a factory worker who had a wicked crush on him. Ms. Kaufmann received some of the biggest laughs of the evening with her hilarious rendition of “The History of Wrong Guys,” a song so many women can relate to! Sofie Flores, as Nicola, Charlie’s fiancé, was compelling as an ambitious woman who knows what she wants but doesn’t always get it. During the London Pub scene, Charlie Fusari as Harry and Mr. Hess as Charlie gave riveting performances in the duet “Take What You Got”.


Demetrio Alomar gave a memorable performance as Don, the macho, arrogant factory worker who starts out as Lola’s nemesis. However, when he steps out in a pair of high-heeled boots during the finale, we know Lola’s good nature has won him over, and he has come to learn an important lesson in humility and acceptance.


Edward Juvier displayed his comedic abilities every time he stepped on the stage as George, the reserved factory manager, who lets it all hang out under the free-spirited influence of Lola.


The amazing Sextet of drag artists, Damien DeShaun Smith, Elijah Dillehay, Kyle Fleig, Jaye Jackson, Kevin Scott, and Kodiak Thompson, dazzled the audience with their exotic costumes and athletic dance moves, including some impressive cartwheels and splits.

The multi-talented, high-energy ensemble added greatly to the overall success of this show. Kudos to Gary Paul Bowman, Caroline Huerta, Kaisha Huguley, Kristen Kane, TJ Kubler, Suzanne Mason, and Caitlin Lester-Sams. They gave knockout performances during the rousing ensemble number “Everybody Say Yeah.”


Expertly directed by Igor Goldin, this production has one of the most electrifying finales you will ever see. The Full Company, donned in breathtaking costumes, sang, and danced their hearts out. It’s no wonder the audience gave this sensational show an enthusiastic standing ovation.


Kinky Boots is filled with glitz, glamor, heart, soul, and an abundance of humor that will leave you feeling uplifted, energized, and filled with the joy of life. Oh, you might want to try the six-step Kinky Boots philosophy of success: 1) Pursue the truth. 2) Learn something new. 3)Accept yourself, and you’ll accept others. 4) Let love shine. 5) Let pride be your guide. 6) You can change the world when you change your mind.


For a complete show schedule and more information, contact the theater directly at 631-261-2900, visit the box office at 250 Main Street, Northport, or visit www.engemantheater.com.







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