“Kinky Boots,” the Ferris Theater Department’s fall musical, hit the stage on Thursday, Nov. 3, at the Williams Auditorium.
The auditorium quickly filled with lots of friendly chatter and excitement from the audience. A few students in the audience came with posters to cheer on their friends and peers.
The show’s main message was about accepting people as they are. This was stated at the end of the show as well as many times in the character’s lines.
Director Katherine A. LaPietra has been ecstatic to put on the show ever since the show’s rights became available.
“I think it’s a show for our time,” LaPietra said. “It’s message is something we need to be thinking about right now.”
The audience was quick to lose their minds upon the first appearance of Lola and the Angels during the song “Land of Lola.” The scene was full of lots of interactive moments with the audience. It is safe to say that Lola and the Angels were one of the highlights of the show’s opening night.
“Part of [the] attention [during “Land of Lola”] comes from the energy of… the actors themselves,” LaPietra said. “They were just fantastic.”
The whole performance gained a lot of good comments and reactions from the audience
“I thought opening night went very well, and we had a good and attentive audience,” LaPietra said.
Similar to all opening nights, the performance did have a few mic issues, as well as a few slipped-up lines.
“There are always things that go differently than planned, but I think those were at a minimum,” LaPietra said.
This show was the first in years that hasn’t been affected by COVID-19. The cast members were able to perform without wearing a face cover.
Alpha Psi Omega Theatre Honor Society member Sydney Mingori is a member of the show’s cast. She explains that she is happy to be back on stage, putting shows on as normal.
“A lot more work has gone into this than the previous productions,” Mingori said.
Digital animation and game design freshman Jason Zawacki is a part of the ensemble cast. Zawacki was excited to be a part of this show and is especially fond of LaPietra’s beagle, Buford, who makes a special appearance during the bar scene where Charlie, the shoe factory owner, seeks the help of a friend. Buford can be seen receiving lots of pets from the bar guests.
Buford’s appearance in the show is a tradition for Ferris productions.
“The tradition started with my previous dog, who was in ‘Legally Blonde,’” LaPietra said. “We just kept finding reasons [and] ways to use him in the shows, and it just became tradition.”
The tradition carries on with Buford, who also plays the role of being a support animal for the cast.
Zawacki believes that the show’s bright and colorful costumes, props, stage energy and dramatic boots are what really bring the show together.
“[The show] can provide a new perspective,” Zawacki said. “The show is just overall a good time.”
All cast members have been practicing for weeks wearing stiletto platform boots. They were required to dance in these heels for the final scene of the show, which depicts the Angels, Lola and the factory workers giving a presentation on the shoe factory’s boots.
This was a challenge for most of the cast members, but Zawacki knew that they were all able to take on the task with confidence.
“I heard that you have to be confident in heels to walk about in them,” Zawacki said.
With this piece of advice from Zawacki, plus lots of practice and a few stumbles here and there, the cast was able to bring the final scene to life for the opening night and the shows that followed.
Throughout the show, a group of three audience members were very expressive with their enjoyment of the performance. They often waved their hands, laughed and gasped at jokes and surprising scenes.
One of the group members, plastics engineering technology freshman Benji Zorn came to watch the show with no expectations, since he had no idea what “Kinky Boots” was about. However, he quickly became one of the most reactive in the audience.
“We [showed] up, and we were just absolutely blown away,” Zorn said. “Characters changed throughout the musical, and I really admired [that].”
Another one of the group members, biochemistry and Spanish freshman Delaney Beckett, feels confident that she and her friends will return for the spring play.
The audience consisted of a mix of students, parents, community members and professors on opening night.
Math professor and director of general education Dr. Victor Piercy has attended other shows put on by Ferris’ theatre department. He has always loved theatre and believes that the cast did “wonderfully.” Like the rest of the audience, he was a big fan of the “Land of Lola” number.
At the end of the show, the cast received a standing ovation from the audience.