Lance Bordelon is kicking up his heels in ‘Kinky Boots’

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Lance Bordelon in the national tour of "Kinky Boots"

By Lynda Lacayo

The 2013 Tony Award-winning Musical “Kinky Boots” arrives at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Feb. 6 – 11, 2018, just in time for a pre-Valentine celebration. The engaging musical has all the razzmatazz of Broadway paired with Cyndi Lauper’s infectious red-hot musical score and a book based on a real life story of a “sole”-searching shoe factory heir, Charlie Price, and a decorously tall drag queen, Lola.

Ladies and gentlemen and those who have yet to make up their minds (to quote Lola), will laugh out loud as the unlikely duo team up to save the failing factory and create an unbreakable six inch heel. And in doing so find they have more in common than they realized.

“Kinky Boots” costars Lance Bordelon as Charlie Price and Jos N. Banks as Lola. “Kinky Boots” is quirky, unconventional fun with Lola radiating glitz and glamour in contrast to the more conformist Charlie. It is also a story with heart and compassion and it was the gentler aspects of the show that resonated with Bordelon who explains, “When I first moved to New York, I saw ‘Kinky Boots’ and I had never seen anything like it. It touched my emotions. I felt as if someone took my life’s story and put it on stage so when the opportunity to play Charlie Price came along I jumped at it and am super excited to be in this show.”

Bordelon says, “‘Kinky Boots’ is a lot about my character Charlie, who inherited a falling apart shoe factory. He crosses paths with a colorful cross dressing performer, Lola, in need of a shatterproof six inch stiletto. Together they come up with this idea to produce sexy boots and save the factory. On their journey these two very different people discover equivalences in their own lives and it’s exciting to see them come together with common goals. Audiences can expect lots of fun, high energy and entertainment from the show.”

But he adds, “There’s this huge heart behind it and a message of acceptance and just accepting people for who they are and if they’re different, well, that’s okay.”

Those glittery bright red boots set the scene for pure high kicking exuberance and there’s no denying that “Kinky Boots” is feel-good fun with lines from Lola, like “the sex is in the heel.” But it’s about more than chuckles; it’s about real people’s lives, Charlie’s, Lola’s, and the factory workers’.

Bordelon, a Louisiana lad from an unpretentious gulf town, feels an authentic connection with his real-life British counterpart. Bordelon cites his southern roots for his empathy towards his character, Charlie, and the rural workforce.

He says, “Personally, I’m strongly linked to my Louisiana origins where our small town lives are similar to those of the people in the story. I come from an oil and fishery-based town, dependent on the Gulf for survival. We rely on the trade to support our families so when disaster strikes it’s devastating to the industry and to our lives. That’s the thing about my life that kind of parallels the actual or real folks’ concerns in ‘Kinky Boots.”

Bordelon continues, “Like the sons in the show, Charlie and Lola, I guess you could say I’ve had a colorful past with my own father. So that’s another element of the story that I relate to, the personal highs and lows that Charlie goes through on his journey.”

Audiences may recognize a neighbor or friend in the foibles and flaws of “Kinky Boots” characters. Or as Bordelon puts it, “Everyone knows someone like these personality types. We all know someone like Don or Tish or the other people in the factory. We know that guy who gives everyone a hard time, the one with the tough exterior and the older gal who mothers everyone. It’s refreshing to see real people from the real world on stage.”

Audiences “just wanna have fun” and “Kinky Boots” is clearly the ticket for lively entertainment with bright, infectious melodies and the sequined swagger of lovable Lola and company. It’s a joyful roller coaster ride when Charlie, a tough guy with a chip on his shoulder and Lola, a drag queen with a broken heel, come together as their very different worlds merge.

As Bordelon says, “This is a great show, it’s exhilarating and funky fun and yeah, audiences come to be entertained, which is cool but it also opens up a little thought about real circumstances and that’s a bonus. It has a message that sneaks up on people and opens doors, open conversations. It’s a beautiful moment when we literally walk in each other’s shoes. We humans are more alike than we are different.”

While “Kinky Boots” walks, in stiletto heels, on the wild side of nightlife it has deeper themes of father/son relationships and brotherhood among humankind. This inspiring musical will “Raise You Up” and audiences will exit the show dancing in the aisles. More importantly, there’s a lesson in the show’s final lines that is so simple yet so deep: “You can change the world if you do something about it. When you band together the strength in numbers makes it happen. The common denominator is love.”

What the world needs now is love, sweet love, in the immortal words of the Beatles, and that is the message “Kinky Boots” sends, telling a powerful story about being more loving and kind to one another, about letting go of prejudices and fears and accepting people for who they are no matter how different.

“Everyone Say Yeah,” so kick up your highest heels and head to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts where “Kinky Boots” is running Feb. 6 to 11, 2018 in Segerstrom Hall. Segerstrom Center is located at 600 Town Dr., Costa Mesa. For Tickets and information: in person at The Box Office; by phone at 714-556-2787 or online at SCFTA.org. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

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