80s star re­veals love of stage show.. and Ed­in­burgh

Sunday Mail (UK) - - Lesley Roberts -

“The show be­longs in the UK since it’s a UK story. I’m so happy peo­ple across the UK will be able to see it.”

On pa­per, Kinky Boots is not an ob­vi­ous mu­si­cal, never mind a crit­i­cal and box of­fice phe­nom­e­non.

In­spired by a true story and adapted from a 2005 film, it tells the story of a strug­gling Northamp­ton shoe fac­tory owner, whose busi­ness is saved when a chance en­counter be­twe en the b o s s a nd a cross-dress­ing cabaret singer sees them producing erotic footwear.

New Yorker Cyndi, 65, whose other hits in­clude True Colours and Time Af­ter Time, was wash­ing the dishes when she got a call from ac­tor and play­wright Har­vey Fier­stein ask­ing her to get in­volved.

She said: “It ap­pealed to me on many lev­els. I’ve al­ways re­lated to drag queens be­cause I’ve felt like an out­sider most of my life – and I love to dress up.

“An im­por­tant part of the story is about the fa­ther- son re­la­tion­ship and how it af­fects us and, as the mother of a son, I re­lated to that sto­ryl ine too. Plus, it’s just so up­lift­ing and joy­ful.

“I’ve been in­volved with the show for al­most a decade. It was daunt­ing be­cause I’d never writ­ten for a mu­si­cal be­fore but I felt ready for this spe­cific project.”

If Kinky Boots has en­joyed spec­tac­u­lar suc­cess, it’s also been a per­sonal tri­umph. In 2013, Cyndi be­came the first solo woman to win the Tony for Best Orig­i­nal Score.

It was an­other ad­di­tion to a se­ries of per­sonal ac­co­lades which in­clude Gram­mys, an Emmy, a place in the Song­writ­ers Hall of Fame and al­bum sales in ex­cess of 50mil­lion.

But the lat­est one meant a great deal to the singer, who is a vo­cal cam­paigner for LGBTQ rights.

She said: “It meant so much to be the first solo woman to win the Tony Award for Best Orig­i­nal Score – but it should have hap­pened long be­fore 2013.

“I re­ally did feel em­braced by the Broad­way com­mu­nity in a way that means so much to me, since New York has al­ways been my home and they’ve ac­cepted me in a way I never quite felt in the mu­sic in­dus­try.

“By the time the show closes on Broad­way, we’ll be the 25th longestrun­ning mu­si­cal in Broad­way his­tory and the show has played in nine coun­tries on four con­ti­nents.”

She believes the ap­peal of the show, which will be at the Play­house un­til Jan­uary 5 and fea­tures a cast in­clud­ing Cal­lum Fran­cis, Kayi Ushe, Paula Lane and Joel HarperJack­son, is that it has some­thing for ev­ery­one.

She said: “It’s so joy­ous and fun and I think, these days, we could all use a lit­tle joy and fun.

“But it’s also uni­ver­sal. There are el­e­ments in the story that ev­ery­one can re­late to – we all have com­pli­cated re­la­tion­ships with our par­ents or had to fol­low a path they wanted for us or have en­coun­tered peo­ple who are dif­fer­ent from us and not known quite how to act.

“So I think even the scep­tics who think they don’t want to see the show come out lov­ing it and danc­ing in the aisles – and, hope­fully, they also leave the show a lit­tle more tol­er­ant.”

Cyndi, who has been mar­ried to ac­tor David Thorn­ton since 1991, with whom she has a son, De­clyn, still keeps an eye on the show at home in New York.

She said: “I’ll stand in the back of the Hirschfeld The­atre from time to time. I want to make sure all of the pro­duc­tions sound and look as good as the orig­i­nal Broad­way show did on open­ing night.”

Her at­ten­tion, how­ever, will be di­vided go­ing for­ward, as she is hard at work on her next mu­si­cal the­atre project, which is tak­ing her back to her 80s roots.

She is adapt­ing 1988 movie Work­ing Girl, which starred Melanie Gr i f f ith, Har­ri­son Ford and Sigour­ney Weaver, for the stage.

Cyndi said: “It’s sti l l in the rel­a­tively early stages but hope­fully it will be on Broad­way one day in the not too dis­tant fu­ture. And maybe one day in the UK.”

EX­CITED Cyndi poses with the West End cast of her show in May HAIR RAISER With Rod Ste­wart in Au­gust

TRUE COLOURS Singer Cyndi in 1993

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