Broadway-bound Kinky Boots opens in Chicago

Kinky Boots, the new musical by Cyndi Lauper & Harvey Fierstein, opened last night at the Bank of America Theatre in Chicago.

Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell, the show appears to be headed in the right direction as Chicago gives the creators the opportunity to fine tune the piece.

A couple of the reviews from opening night:

Hedy Weiss, Sun-Times: While
no one would mistake this new musical, which celebrated its
pre-Broadway opening Wednesday night at Chicago’s Bank of America
Theatre, as groundbreaking in any way, it is an ideally crafted,
altogether feel-good show — something of a “La Cage aux Folles” for the
recession-plagued, anti-bullying, “it WILL get better” generation. And
its solid if predictable storytelling (Harvey Fierstein’s take on the
popular little British film comedy of 2005), its accomplished and varied
score (an impressive first Broadway effort by Cyndi Lauper, that petite
paragon of pop, who has penned several numbers that are sure to become
keepers), its conveyor belt-smooth flow (courtesy of
director-choreographer Jerry Mitchell), and its strong, winningly
genuine cast, all conjoin to make it an engaging entertainment.

Michael Roberts, Showbiz Chicago:
Kinky Boots has something unique going for it that will add to its
success; that is Billy Porter…I would venture to say that Kinky Boots
will do for Mr. Porter what Hello, Dolly did for Carol Channing, Funny
Girl for Streisand; Phantom for Michael Crawford and Evita for Patti
LuPone. This is will become a show and role that will be forever
synonymous with Mr. Porter, and rightfully so…Alongside Mr. Porter is
the equally engaging Stark Sands as Charlie Price. Though his character
could stand a little more development in the second act, Sands has
remarkable stage presence and chemistry with his co-star…The book for
Kinky Boots is classic Harvey Fierstein, who always has the innate
ability to create an environment where his characters can be bigger than
life one minute, then intensely internal the next…The material at hand
is perfect fodder for [Jerry] Mitchell to develop the environment to
allow his actors to find their truth…A musical would be nothing without
the music, and for this, Cyndi Lauper is a revelation…Not since Rent
has there been a musical that is poised to have at least three numbers
cross over to the pop charts.

The marquee of Kinky Boots in Chicago

Jerry Mitchell, Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein celebrate the opening of Kinky Boots in Chicagp

Pictures via

Cyndi Lauper rallies celebs to donate fan experiences for True Colors Fund

Via press release:

Long-time civil rights advocate and artist Cyndi Lauper has rallied an impressive list of stars from music and entertainment to help kick off the 2012 True Colors Summer Charity Auction to benefit the True Colors Fund’s work in support of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality.

Elton John, Liza Minnelli, Lady Gaga, Anderson Cooper, Jason Mraz, Ricky Martin and many more celebrities have donated incredible experiences for the auction, open now through July 31st at leading online charity auction house Charitybuzz.

Lauper founded the True Colors Fund to inspire and engage everyone, especially straight people, to become active participants in the advancement of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. The organization also works to raise awareness about and bring an end to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth homelessness.

Check it out on Charitybuzz.

Cyndi Lauper launches initiative to educate public & help homeless LGBT youth

Cyndi Lauper today launched the Forty to None Project, a national program to educate the public and support homeless LGBT youth. The project’s name comes from the disturbing number of LGBT homeless youth. With up to 1.6 million youth who are homeless each year, 40% identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Lauper wants that number to be “none”.

From a statement by Lauper:

We traveled the country, visiting shelters, drop-in centers, outreach programs and advocacy organizations. We talked to community leaders, service providers, government officials and the kids themselves. We held meetings in 10 cities, from Washington to New York to San Francisco to Minneapolis. We looked for the holes in the system, and we’ve developed a five-year plan to make significant changes happen.

In our first five years, Forty to None will work to drive down the number of gay and transgender youth on the streets through a campaign that includes: education and awareness to raise the visibility of these young people and the direct service providers who work with them; advocacy at the state and federal levels; strengthening the network of services, advocates, community leaders and others working on the issue; training service providers to be more inclusive and understanding of the issues specifically affecting these kids; and empowering homeless gay and transgender youth themselves with valuable resources and information.

Cyndi Lauper To Open Housing for LGBT Youth

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Next month, Cyndi Lauper’s 1986 hit “True Colors” takes on new meaning when the True Colors Residence for homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (L.G.B.T.) youth opens in Harlem on September 1.

The idea behind the 30-bed facility was conceived by Lauper, her manager and the West End Intergenerational Residence, a non-profit that provides housing and support for homeless families and seniors.

The True Colors Residence will be the first permanent housing facility in New York for homeless L.G.B.T. youth.

“In New York City, a very disproportionate number (up to 40 percent) of homeless youth identify as L.G.B.T.,” the Queens singer, actress and writer said in a letter urging donors to support the project. “Even more disturbing are reports that these young people often face discrimination and at times physical assault in some of the very places they have to for help. This is shocking and inexcusable!”

Lauper has long been an advocate for LGBT rights. In 2007, she created the True Colors Tour, in which she performed and talked about LGBT issues. She founded the True Colors Fund in 2008, a non-profit for the advancement of LGBT equality.