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An Encore Presentation of Kinky Boots Will Strut Its Stuff at DPAC Sept. 13-18

J. Harrison Ghee (center) repeats his crowd-pleasing performance as Lola in the 2016 encore presentation of <em>Kinky Boots</em> at DPAC (photo by Matthew Murphy)

J. Harrison Ghee (center) repeats his crowd-pleasing portrayal of Lola in the 2016 encore presentation of Kinky Boots on Sept. 13-18 at the Durham Performing Arts Center (photo by Matthew Murphy)

The Durham Performing Arts Center is bringing the high-octane First National Tour of the Tony Award®-winning hit 2013 Broadway musical Kinky Boots back to the Bull City for eight rousing repeat performances on Sept. 13-18 in DPAC‘s 2,700-seat, state-of-the-art theater in the American Tobacco Historic District of downtown Durham, NC. Fayetteville, NC native J. Harrison Ghee will don flamboyant London cabaret singer and drag queen Lola’s trademark red knee-high, high-heeled footwear.

Lola is the sore-footed boxer-turned-drag queen who saves Price & Son, a foundering men’s shoe factory in Northampton, England, by convincing shoe-factory heir Charlie Price (played by Adam Kaplan) to manufacture a revolutionary line of comfortable knee-high, high-heeled “kinky boots” designed to fit the feet of men who like to dress up as women. Lawdy, lawdy, it’s enough to give the proponents of North Carolina’s virulently anti-LGBTQ House Bill 2 a hissy fit! (Indeed, this spring the Broadway musical’s creators poked fun at HB2 with a music video entitled “Just Pee (Where You Want to Pee),” which is a hilarious rewrite of the musical’s grand finale, “Just Be.”)

The 2013 Broadway and 2015 West End musical Kinky Boots is based on the 2005 U.S./U.K. movie, directed by Julian Jarrold from a screenplay by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth, which starred Chiwetel Ejiofor as Lola. The stage musical features Tony-winning music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper and a Tony-nominated book by Harvey Fierstein.

Kinky Boots is a true story; the 2005 film is based on Trouble at the Top: The Kinky Boot Factory, a 1999 BBC documentary about a 100-year-old Northampton shoe factory struggling to survive, claims Jim J. Bullock, who plays George the shoe-factory manager in the touring version of this immensely popular musical, whose motto might well be “Love. Pride. Dignity. Surprise,” as one of its video previews proclaims. Bullock adds that “The only part that really isn’t true is the Lola character.”

Bullock notes, “I play the factory manager. I am one of the oldest people there, and I’m friends with Charlie’s father, who passes away early in the play.

“I become Charlie’s father figure,” Bullock adds, “It’s a wonderful play about acceptance and being who you are and allowing other people to be who they are.”

Kinky Boots made its Broadway debut on April 4, 2013 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, where it is still running, with more than 1,430 performances to date. Nominated for thirteen 2013 Tony Awards, Kinky Boots took home six Tonys — for Best Musical, Best Original Score Written for the Theatre (Cyndi Lauper), Best Choreography (director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell), Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical (Billy Porter as Lola), Best Orchestrations (Stephen Oremus), and Best Sound Design of a Musical (John Shivers), plus the 2013 Drama Desk Award for 2013 Outstanding Actor in a Musical (Billy Porter).

In addition to J. Harrison Ghee as Lola (nee Simon), Jim J. Bullock as George, and Adam Kaplan as Charlie, the reluctant Midlands men’s shoe-factory proprietor who’d rather pursue a lucrative real estate career in London, the tour cast includes Charissa Hogeland as Charlie’s social-climbing fiancée, Nicola; Tiffany Engen as Lauren, a working class girl who catches Charlie’s eye; Aaron Walpole as Don, a bigoted shoe-factory worker who becomes Lola’s nemesis; Tami Dahbura as a middle-aged factory worker named Trish; Ciarán McCarthy as Nicola’s boss Richard Bailey; Josh Tolle as a shoe salesman named Harry, whose success Charlie envies; Patty Lohr as Pat the factory’s meddlesome office manager; Tom Souhrada as Charlie’s father Mr. Price; and David Jennings as Lola’s father Simon Sr. The Angels, who perform in drag at The Blue Angel Nightclub and double as a sort of Greek chorus for Kinky Boots, include Joseph Anthony Byrd, Sam Dowling, Ian Gallagher Fitzgerald, J.P. Qualters, Xavier Reyes, and Sam Rohloff.

J. Harrison Ghee (center left) as Lola and Adam Kaplan as Charlie and must join forces to produce a revolutionary product (photo by Matthew Murphy)

J. Harrison Ghee (center left) as Lola and Adam Kaplan as Charlie and must join forces to create a high-heeled boot for men and revive a failing Northamptonshire shoe factory (photo by Matthew Murphy)

The 2013 musical differs from the 2005 film in several important ways, says 61-year-old Casper, WY native Jim J. Bullock, who is probably best known for playing Monroe Ficus in the television series Too Close for Comfort, for smart-alecky remarks on Hollywood Squares from 1986 until 1989, and for playing goofy joke-shop proprietor Wilbur Turnblad in the national tour of Hairspray. First of all, Bullock says, “Kinky Boots has all original music by Cyndi Lauper…. Plus, there’s more of this Lola character [in the Broadway musical]. He is really a huge part of the musical. He and Charlie are the main characters. They come from separate worlds and have to learn to get along and work together.”

Born James Jackson Bullock on Feb. 9, 1955, in Casper, WY, Bullock grew up in Odessa, TX, in a Southern Baptist home. He attended Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, OK, for two years on a music scholarship.

“I was a singer, and I was a church soloist,” Bullock explains. Then at OKBU, he says, “I was cast in a production of Godspell that really did change the course of my life…. I wasn’t John the Baptist or Jesus; I was just one of the other disciples.

“That show married the love of performing and singing and the love of my faith, which was very real to me and still is very real,” Bullock says.

So, he relocated to California in 1977; and landed the role of Monroe Ficus in Too Close for Comfort in 1980. The show ran for six years. “It was a great beginning,” Bullock says.

He initially auditioned for the role of George in Kinky Boots in 2014. (The current tour started that September.) “I didn’t get to play that part for a year,” says Bullock. He adds, “This October will mark a year that I’ve been with the show…. It really is a great musical, it’s so uplifting, and it’s got a great message. Cyndi Lauper’s music is so beautiful.”

Bullock adds that members of the audience regularly tell him that Kinky Boots is the best musical that they’ve ever seen. Which, he tells local theatergoers, is a good reason to buy your tickets today — before the second coming of this musical to the Triangle sells out all eight of its eight Durham performances.

Adam Kaplan (center left) as Charlie and J. Harrison Ghee as Lola triumph at the Milan shoe showcase (photo by Matthew Murphy)

Adam Kaplan (left) as Charlie and J. Harrison Ghee as Lola triumph in Milan (photo by Matthew Murphy)

SECOND OPINION: Sept. 8th Durham, NC Herald-Sun preview by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: http://www.heraldsun.com/lifestyles/kinky-boots-cyndi-lauper-s-tony-award-winning-musical-back/article_f93179e2-7566-11e6-875b-5bb525d26b0f.html (Note: You must subscribe to read this article); Sept. 7th Durham, NC Indy Week mini-preview by Zack Smith: http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/kinky-boots/Event?oid=4988823; Sept. 7th Raleigh, NC BroadwayWorld.com Raleigh preview by Taryn Oesch: http://www.broadwayworld.com/raleigh/article/BWW-Preview-KINKY-BOOTS-Comes-to-Durham-20160830; and June 3rd Raleigh, NC News & Observer preview by Colin Campbell: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article81656222.html.

The Durham Performing Arts Center presents KINKY BOOTS at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 13-15, 8 p.m. Sept. 16, 2 and 8 p.m. Sept. 17, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sept. 18 at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701, in the American Tobacco Historic District.

TICKETS: $35-$160 (including fees). Click here for DPAC Special Offers.

BOX OFFICE:

DPAC Box Office: 919-680-ARTS (2787), tickets@dpacnc.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events-tickets/where-to-buy.

Ticketmaster: 800-982-2787 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/1726370.

GROUP RATES (15+ tickets): 919/281-0587, Groups@DPACnc.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events-tickets/group-services.

SHOW: http://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/kinky-boots-1 and https://www.facebook.com/events/803432513136146/.

VIDEO PREVIEW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKlCG1u4iQY.

THE TOUR: http://kinkybootsthemusical.com/tour.php and https://www.ibdb.com/tour-production/kinky-boots–499455.

TOUR CAST: http://kinkybootsthemusical.com/cast.php.

TOUR CREATIVES: http://kinkybootsthemusical.com/cast.php.

DPAC NEWS RELEASE: http://www.dpacnc.com/news/detail/kinky-boots-returns-to-dpac-sept-13-18.

PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.dpacnc.com/, https://www.facebook.com/DPACNC, https://twitter.com/DPAC, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durham_Performing_Arts_Center.

DIRECTIONS: http://www.dpacnc.com/plan-your-visit/directions.

PARKING: http://www.dpacnc.com/plan-your-visit/parking

OTHER LINKS:

Kinky Boots (2005 film): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0434124/ (Internet Movie Database), http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/629213/Kinky-Boots/ (Turner Classic Movies), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinky_Boots_%28film%29 (Wikipedia).

Kinky Boots (2013 Broadway and 2015 West End musical): http://kinkybootsthemusical.com/index.php (official website), http://ibdb.com/show.php?id=493286 (Internet Broadway Database), https://www.facebook.com/KinkyBootsBway (Facebook page), https://twitter.com/KinkyBootsBway (Twitter page), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinky_Boots_%28musical%29 (Wikipedia), and https://www.youtube.com/user/kinkybootsbway (YouTube).

Cyndi Lauper (music and lyrics): http://cyndilauper.com/ (official website), http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=391830 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyndi_Lauper (Wikipedia).

Harvey Fierstein (book): http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=6157 (Internet Broadway Database), https://www.facebook.com/harvey.fierstein (Facebook page), https://twitter.com/harveyfierstein (Twitter page), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvey_Fierstein (Wikipedia).

Jim J. Bullock (actor who plays George): http://kinkybootsthemusical.com/tourcast.php (tour bio), http://www.lortel.org/Archives/CreditableEntity/1504 (Internet Off-Broadway Database), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/jim-j-bullock-390927 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0120160/ (Internet Movie Database), https://www.facebook.com/jim.bullock.77 (Facebook page), https://twitter.com/jimjbullock (Twitter page), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_J._Bullock (Wikipedia).

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing robertm748@aol.com and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail robertm748@aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)

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