Sequins, stilettos, and stars overhead (and on stage) grace Moonlight’s final 2022 show, Kinky Boots

Lukas Poost as Charlie (left) and Terry LaVell as Lola. Photo Credit: Karli Cadel

Lukas Poost as Charlie (left) and Terry LaVell as Lola. Photo Credit: Karli Cadel

Moonlight is going big, flashy, and kinky with the final production in their summer season, Kinky Boots, directed by Larry Raben and running at the amphitheater through October 1. With music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper (yes, THAT Cyndi Lauper) and book by Harvey Fierstein, this show brings all of the zhuzh, vibrancy, and glitter you’d expect, with a healthy dose of sexy sass.

This musical follows young Charlie Price and his decision, in the wake of his dad’s death, to pivot the failing family shoe factory toward a unique new niche: thigh-high, fire engine red boots with a 6 inch heel, as designed by his new friend (and drag performer) Lola. With a sparkly prayer or two thrown to the wind that he and his newfound colleagues can save the factory and everyone’s jobs, they embark on an adventure of self-discovery, friendship, and new understandings.

Inspired by true events and based on the 2005 British film of the same name, Kinky Boots packs a punch in terms of energy, vibrant costumes, and big, belty songs. Performer wise, Lukas Poost is made for his role; he steps into Charlie’s shoes with comfortability and skill, a command of the vocal challenges presented by the role, and a warm, honest tone to boot. Poost has fabulous chemistry with each of his scene partners: Nicola (played by the powerful Dayna Sauble), Lauren (performed by the outrageously quirky Natalie Storrs), and of course his cabaret muse, Lola (played by Terry Lavell). According to the program, Poost and Lavell have played opposite each other in this production before, and that makes a lot of sense – their interactions felt cozy, in a sense. “I’m Not My Father’s Son,” near the end of act 1, is a perfect example of this as the audience witnesses the two young people deepening in their friendship, understanding of, and respect for one another (and for what they have in common) on a bank of lockers in the factory restroom. Particularly striking was the lighting (Jennifer Edwards) in this scene, with LEDs ranging from light teals to royal blue, a purple/blue/teal ombre backdrop, and deep shadows created by the lattice used on the set platforms (David Rockwell). It was really beautiful.

Company of Kinky Boots. Photo Credit: Karli Cadel.

Company of Kinky Boots. Photo Credit: Karli Cadel.

Another standout scene in the show was “In this Corner,” choreographed within a malleable, actor-manipulated elastic boxing ring by Peggy Hickey. The choice to angle the ring downwards was perfect for sight lines, but also added a little bit of a front-row type feel, and the blocking of the slow-motion fight was visually engaging and well complemented by smoke effects. And, of course, all the glitz comes in with the finale number, “Raise You Up/Just Be,” which had every ounce of the color and sparkle looked for in the production. Ensemble, you brought this number to life, and you should know that your high kicks, acrobatics, and navigation in those iconic heeled boots do not go unnoticed! Speaking of ensemble, the other players in the production include: Bentley Burningham, Xavier J. Bush, Lisa Dyson, Melissa Fernandes, Berto Fernández, Johnny Fletcher, Karla J. Franko, Jazley Genovese, Ryan Hadley, Cody Ingram, Scotty Jacobson, Leo Jones, Gerry Kenneth, Jackson Marcy, Sarah Morgan, Greg Nicholas, Brian Osuna, Trevor Rex, Dayna Sauble, Jupityr Shaw, Taleen Shrikian, E.Y. Washington, Kyle White, and Louis Williams Jr.

A group of people pose, smiling and holding a pair of high heeled red boots.

Terry LaVell (left) as Lola, Lukas Poost as Charlie with the company. Photo credit: Karli Cadel.

Although this show wasn’t without a couple of challenges (there were a few sound issues and, unfortunately, some of the accents in the production simply missed the mark), the energy in the cast was electric for opening night and the story and music are undeniably fun. A joyous (and, at times, adult) show about friendship, the way that we honor one another, and living your truth, Kinky Boots is one to catch with a group of friends between now and October 1 at 7:30pm at Moonlight Amphitheatre.
1 A B C D E G I J L M N O P Q R S T U W
Photo of Moonlight Stage Productions
Moonlight Stage Productions
Work Moonlight Amphitheatre 1200 Vale Terrace Drive Vista CA 92084 USAWork Avo Playhouse 303 Main Street Vista CA 92084 USA Work Phone: (760) 724-2110 Website: Moonlight Stage Productions website
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Cassiopeia Guthrie

Cassiopeia Guthrie is a journalist, educator, and business consultant based in Southern California. Cassiopeia earned her bachelor's in journalism at San Diego State University, an executive master's in business administration from Quantic School of Business and Technology, and completed a training in photojournalism/storytelling for impact with National Geographic. She boasts 20 years of success in digital content development, project management, curriculum development, and business leadership across the education, media/entertainment, and communications industries, including running a scholastic journalism program as well as a social media/social PR internship program for a branding agency. Cassiopeia has 12 years of experience with nonprofit theatre management and production and is an Aubrey Award winning actress with numerous credits to her name at a variety of San Diego theaters. Cassiopeia's writing has been seen in publications including People Magazine, Broadway World, Vista Press, City Beat, Valley Roadrunner, Escondido Times-Advocate, and others, and she has been seen discussing theatre on local television stations including CBS, NBC, ABC, and KUSI.

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