Earl’s back in boots… but kinky ones

 

Earl Gregory (right) as he appears in KickstArt’s Into the Woods, now at the Pieter Toerien Theatre at Montecasino, Johannesburg (see my review under Theatre on this site). Gregory has now been cast as the lead in Kinky Boots. He is pictured here with Jessica Sole and Graeme Wicks.

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BY BILLY SUTER

FROM a technicoloured dreamcoat to a lowly baker, to a drag queen in red boots… that’s the path of Earl Gregory, star of the touring South African productions of Joseph and the current Into the Woods.

The popular singer-actor will be filling the coveted principal role, as drag queen Lola, in the premiere South African production of the musical, Kinky Boots.

This means Gregory will be back in boots, having also played the title character in the Johannesburg season of Durban theatre company,  KickstArt’s, touring production of Puss in Boots.

Presented by Eric Abraham and The Fugard Theatre, the production of Kinky Boots for South Africa will reportedly be a new, original production and will run at Cape Town’s Fugard Theatre from June 11.

The show, inspired by real events, started life as a 2005 movie of the same name. The stage musical, which reached Broadway in 2013, went on to take six Tony Awards and three Olivier Awards.

Featuring a book by Harvey Fierstein and music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, the show tells the story of Charlie Price, who inherits a shoe factory from his father. He then forms an unlikely partnership with cabaret performer and drag queen Lola to produce a line of high-heeled boots to save the business. In the process, Charlie and Lola discover that they are not so different after all.

Earl Gregory as Lola and Darren Craig as Charlie in Kinky Boots.

In the role of shoe factory owner Charlie will be Darren Craig (Grease, High School Musical), while Namisa Mdlalose (The Colour Purple, King Kong) has been cast as Lauren, Amy Campbell (Tiger Bay, SA’s Got Talent) as Charlie’s girlfriend Nicola and Nathan Ro (of the bands Lonehill Estate and Swing City) as Don.

Ralph Lawson, who has acted in and directed many productions for Durban’s Playhouse Company, has been cast as George, with Stephan van Huyssteen (Rock of Ages, Big Top Rock) playing Harry, Lucy Tops (Shakespeare in Love, Funny Girl) cast as Pat, Lindy Abromowitz (Offbeat Broadway, Stepping Out) as Trish and Glenn Swart (Immortal, Show Boat) as Mr Price.

Tshepo Ncokoane (Snow White, Priscilla, Queen of The Desert) is the Lola Alternate, and he  Phillip Schnetler (Priscilla, Queen of The Desert, Annie), Chester Martinez (Rockville2069 The Musical, Ikapa Dance Company) and Emile Doubell (The Rocky Horror Show, Footloose) as the Angels at The Blue Angel Nightclub.

Other cast members are Shaleeni Ranchhod, Catherine Isaacs, Shelley Adriaanzen, Julio Jantjies, Nathan Muller, Dean de Klerk and Lee van der Merwe.

Direction for the South African production will be by the inventive Matthew Wild, with musical direction by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder and choreography by Louisa Talbot. Costume design is by Birrie Le Roux, set design by Paul Wills and lighting design by Tim Mitchell. Sound design is by Mark Malherbe.

Performances at the Fugard Theatre will be at 8pm Tuesdays to Saturdays, with a 3pm matinee on Saturdays. Ticket prices start at R160 and can be booked via the Fugard Theatre site: www.thefugard.com


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