Harvey Feirstein, Cyndi Lauper enjoy success of ‘Kinky Boots’ 

click to enlarge Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper continue to celebrate their musical “Kinky Boots.” - CHARLES SYKES/INVISION/AP
  • CHARLES SYKES/INVISION/AP
  • Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper continue to celebrate their musical “Kinky Boots.”
Even though Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein have a big hit with “Kinky Boots,” their 2012 musical about a straight shoe factory heir who joins forces with a drag queen, they’re not too busy to promote it on the road.

“We both get to perform,” they said in San Francisco a few months ago, gleefully talking with theater fans about the Tony Award-winning show, which opens at the Orpheum Theatre on Tuesday.

Friends since the 1980s, the writing pair seem perfectly matched for the project, which earned rock icon Lauper a Tony for her first Broadway score, which is set to theater veteran Fierstein’s (“La Cage aux Folles,” “Torch Song Trilogy”) touching book.

Their love of characters -- drag queens in particular – formed the basis of the show, and they apparently didn’t experience too much angst creating it.

“How could I be nervous? I didn’t know anything,” says Lauper, who admittedly studied, drawing on references from Sylvester to “South Pacific” to “My Fair Lady.” She adds, “It’s like cooking. You do what tastes good.”

Fierstein’s take on the project, an adaptation of a 2005 movie dramedy of the same name: “If you can’t make it better, why do it?”

His choice to emphasize the two main characters’ lack of self-esteem and troubled relationships with their parents proved successful.

Their bond begins in a key number, “Not My Father’s Son,” in which drag queen Lola tells factory owner Charlie that his dad wanted him to be a boxer and his birth name is Simon.

Writing the song, Lauper says she hoped that it might prompt theatergoers who are parents to “go in the lobby and give their kids a ring” after the first act.

Lauper and Fierstein also are pleased with Kyle Taylor Parker’s casting as Lola in the show’s national tour, watching him go from the chorus to star, as he took over from Tony winner Billy Porter, who originated the role.

His journey, as well as that of “Kinky Boots” characters and followers, reflects the show’s inspirational message: “Celebrate yourself triumphantly.”

It’s a theme to which Lauper can relate. She says, “My fans, God bless ’em, have followed me through thick and thin. I tried to be like Prince and Billy Idol but I never was.”

IF YOU GO

Kinky Boots

Presented by SHN

Where: Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market St., S.F.

When: Opens Tuesday, 8 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays-Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays; closes Dec. 28

Tickets: $95 to $300

Contact: (888) 746-1799, www.shnsf.com

About The Author

Leslie Katz

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