Moonlight Closes 41 Season in the 'Land of Lola' and the Audience is Saying YEAH!

The Vista Venue Under the Stars is Dazzling with San Diego Regional Premiere of Kinky Boots 

A Blog View by Alejandra Enciso-Dardashti

The Kinky Boots company. Photo by Karli Cadel

It is definitely not easy to produce musicals by the caliber of Kinky Boots with 14+ cast members, wardrobe, and set design. It is a lot! Moonlight definitely had it in the bag or should I say 'heel' with this regional premiere as their production is magical and energetic.

L to R Berto Fernández as Don, Terry LaVell as Lola, and Ensemble members Melissa Fernandes
and Jazley Genovese. Photo by Karli Cadel
Kinky Boots the musical is based on the 2005 British movie by the same name, based too on a true story of a struggling family-owned, shoe factory in a small town. Charlie the son of the owner is not interested in pursuing the family business of making men's dress shoes but, the patriarch passes away and there is a change of heart in Charlie as he realizes the business has been under for a while. He also meets Lola, a drag queen in London, and discovers there is a need -a niche market- for high-heeled boots that can hold men's weight and form. Charlie decides to debut the flashy new products during Milan's fashion week. In the process, there are important lessons and reality checks, resolving stereotypes and understanding that people just need to be loved the way they are. The musical theatre version with music and lyrics by Cindy Lauper and book by Harvey Fierstein, had its debut in Chicago in 2012 to then go to Broadway the following year. It is cool to see that 10 years later, 'Kinky got its San Diego premiere.

Moonlight's production, directed by Larry Raben and choreographed by Peggy Hickey, is closing its 41st season "con broche de oro" as we say in Spanish (with a gold broach). Terry LaVell as Lola is tender, funny, and with mighty vocals that deliver all the feelings. He pairs well with Lukas Poost as Charlie who instills a lot of passion and realness into his role. Natalie Storrs as Lauren is an absolute hoot with potent vocals as well. The show in an open-air theatre definitely adds a magical flare making it a very unique experience. Music Director and conductor Wilkie Ferguson as well as keeping the musical fort also does a brief participation during the show's plot that I thought was a lovely local touch. Berto Fernández in his role of Don is hilarious. I've seen Berto in all types of roles from a detective, to dispatch owner to now a British small-town macho man and I really appreciate his histrionic layers. Same for Melissa Fernandes as Trish. Even though Trish is a smaller role, Fernandes makes it grand. 

Natalie Storrs as Lauren. Photo by Karli Cadel

As with every musical, there are popular, pivotal-hit songs. Amongst "Sex is in the heel" and "Everybody say yeah" there is also "In this corner" that introduces a key moment in the story. Scotty Jacobson as the referee does a spectacular job and delivers the song amazingly along with all the poise and that gorgeous ensemble by costume designer Gregg Barnes who completed the task full on with the iconic pieces like the stellar red thigh-high boots, Lola's dresses, and that wonderful creme color gown for another stellar song "Hold me in your heart".

Recreating the old shoe factory/warehouse of Price and Son is not easy. This production resolved it well with David Rockwell's set design doing a printed backdrop of the factory, focusing on the inside and all the moving parts like the assembly line. Nicely done indeed along with properties designer Kathy Fabian and properties coordinator, Bonnie Durben.

Kinky Boots is also all about the ANGELS! Great performances by Trevor Rex, Gerry Kenneth, Kyle White, and Louis Williams Jr. who is also the dance captain. Hair, flare, and legs for days. 

Young Lola (Bentley Burningham) and Young Charlie (Leo Jones) are so sweet, a total cuteness overload that opens and closes the show beautifully. I also appreciated how they adapted Don's attitude to the pre-curtain announcement. Slam dunk! You have to go and see the show to figure it out, sorry :)

Lukas Poost as Charlie (l) and Terry LaVell as Lola. Photo by Karli Cadel

The rest of the creative team includes Lighting Designer Jennifer Edwards, Sound Designer Jim Zadai, Hair and Wig Designer Peter Herman, Costume Coordinator Felicia Broschart, and Stage Manager Lauren Paris. Cast: Xavier J. Bush, Lisa Dyson, Johnny Fletcher, Karla J. Franko, Jazley Genovese, Ryan Hadley, Cody Ingram, Jackson Marcy, Sarah Morgan, Greg Nicholas, Brian Osuna, Dayna Sauble, Jupityr Shaw, Taleen Shrikian, and E.Y. Washington.

Congratulations to Moonlight on a very fun production of Kinky Boots. I highly recommend it along with the unique experience of seeing it under the stars. Performances start at 7:30 p.m. Gates open at 6 p.m. for dining and picnicking. Table reservations on the Moonlight Patio are available for $5 per person and include early entry at 5:30 p.m.

The Moonlight Amphitheatre is located at 1200 Vale Terrace Drive, Vista.

For more information, call (760) 724-2110 or visit

No comments:

Post a Comment