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Theatre Review: Kinky Boots

This is a story that gives real meaning the phrase: Truth is Stranger than Fiction.

Here goes: A British manufacturer of high-end men's shoes struggles to survive. In an increasingly disposable society, customers are less interested in shoes guaranteed to last them for years. In a chance encounter, the factory owner's son, Charlie Price, meets a drag queen named Lola who convinces Charlie that there is a real market for women's shoes – made for men!

Charlie and Lola create a partnership, and the shop that once made footwear for elite Englishmen switches gears. It still makes shoes for men but for men with a different style of dress – no pun intended.

This production begins as a mildly interesting story set in a factory in decline. The dialogue is routine and frankly, I am starting to not expect very much. Then on the stage arrives Wayne Brady as Lola! This play takes off. It's like a football team waiting for a few plays to bring in their star quarterback.

This is a Wayne Brady that you probably haven't seen before. He's had his own television program, The Wayne Brady Show, and he currently hosts, Let's Make a Deal. But here, he absolutely owns the role of Lola. It's not just his exceptional singing and dancing, it's the complete presentation. The dresses and wigs turn him into a stunning individual; however, his thin, unattractive, typical black man's legs do serve to undermine his overall appearance (I can say that because I too have thin, unattractive black men's legs!).

The night I saw Kinky Boots, Charlie Price was played by the understudy, Ross Lekites. Andy Kelso is usually in that role. However, Ross was excellent, his timing, singing, acting were as if he were the lead performer.

The music and lyrics are by Cyndi Lauper (Girls Just Wanna Have Fun), and its direction and choreography by Jerry Mitchell.

The set was modest but more than adequate for the storyline.

The bottom line is put on your shoes, boots, or whatever you wear and get down to The Al Hirschfeld Theatre, at 302 West 45th Street and see Kinky Boots.

  • Published in Theatre

Antonevia Ocho-Coultes Debuts Ma's Playhouse

Antonevia Ocho-Coultes gets her shot at theatre production with Nostalgia: Memories of a Tropical Past

Have you ever found yourself contemplating whether or not to start your own business? You have a great idea, but ultimately decide it can wait till later. Sitting in the lobby of a rehearsal space in Manhattan I conduct my interview with someone who decided to put her great idea into action: Antonevia Ocho-Coultes, owner and artistic director of Ma's Playhouse.

Just one year ago Antonevia founded the Caribbean theater company which will showcase its premiere show, Nostalgia: Memories of a Tropical Past, this Friday at the Brooklyn A.R.T. Theater. Creating a theater company had always been a goal for her, but it was a simple conversation with a member of her church that really put things in motion.

"I always had this idea in the back of my mind to do this sometime in the future," said Antonevia Ocho-Coultes. "Strange enough it was this person in my church; he encouraged me. He asked what I was doing. I said I have this idea that I would like to do but probably next year. And he told me why not now? And I realized you're right why not now? That's kind of really what spurred me on. It was now or never."

A native of Trinidad and Tobago Antonevia obtained her BA from St. Francis College and later went on to obtain her MFA in acting from Brooklyn College. It was during her time at Brooklyn College that she discovered how difficult it was to find Caribbean roles.

"Many of the roles I played were African American roles," Antonevia lamented. "And I really loved portraying those roles, but I felt like there was no opportunity for me to play a role that reminded me of home. It confirmed the idea for me that I had always had in the back of my mind to create a Caribbean theater company."

That idea is now a reality with the company's first show set to premiere on May 31, 2013. Nostalgia is a showcase of various works about the Caribbean experience. It is also Antonevia's debut as a producing artistic director.

Said Antonevia on the move to producing artistic director: "I think it was a transition that was very plausible for me because having gone to very many auditions, I'm used to the format and having been in many plays I was used to the structure; the hierarchy and so it was not a terrible transition moving from actor to director. I would say it was more time intensive; labor intensive. I miss not being on the stage, but I like this as well because this is a different part of the creative process and people get to follow a vision that you've had on paper and I really like that."

Antonevia also has some big plans in store for the company that she hopes to achieve within the next five years. Not only does she want to have a thriving theater community and supporters, she also hopes to incorporate TV and Film into Ma's Playhouse.

With the first show just days away I asked Antonevia how she felt about the premiere close at hand.

"I am excited and petrified simply because as an actor, I think the moment you become most afraid is right before you go on stage and this is another aspect of myself that...It's like baring your soul in a very different way," Antonevia responded. "So I'm excited for people to participate and get into it."

Nostalgia: Memories of a Tropical Past premieres on Friday, May 31 at 7:30p.m. at the A.R.T. Theater in Brooklyn. If you miss the premiere, you can catch the second performance on June 9 at 6:30pm. Tickets can be purchased at or at or at the door.

Hurry they're going fast!

  • Published in Theatre
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