Monday, August 4, 2014

HELLOOO... Book of Mormon!!

Naive Mormon boys, alienating Ugandan culture, and a whole lot of AIDS. Sounds like the making of a nine-time Tony Award winning musical, right?? Actually... YEAH! 

     The Book of Mormon is a hilarious satire musical created by the writers of South Park. The play tells the story of two Mormon boys who are sent to Uganda on the most important mission of their lives. However, they find themselves in over their heads once faced with Ugandan natives that are more interested in poverty, war, and AIDS than religion, and a brutal warlord that threatens the lives of everyone.

     The typical uniform for these Mormon missionaries includes a classic white dress shirt, tucked neatly into black pants, and finished off with a simple black tie. Doesn't sound like a too challenging costume design, does it? Maybe not for your regular Mormon missionaries; however, these missionaries are FAR from average. Crossing the stage with leaps, turns, and pirouettes, THESE Mormons require a special uniform to accommodate their dancing needs. All of the shirts you see here are actually sewn-attached to underwear, keeping the boys' shirts neatly tucked no matter what pose they throw your way.

     Here's another costume secret: there is one scene during the show where the men are dancing, and they clap their hands to make the lights go out for approximately 2 seconds. When the lights come up again, they are suddenly dressed in pink sequined vests. How is this possible? WELL, the vests are actually attached to the inside of the pants. So, when the lights go out, the men can reach into their trousers, and pull up the vest in a split second-- a cool effect that certainly leaves you questioning everything you know about quick changes.

     Ann Roth did a fabulous job designing the vast range of costumes for this musical. The Book of Mormon features costumes for Ugandan natives, biblical figures, skeletons, devils, and even Hitler! Although, I must say, I did not like the costume for the warlord. Although the character is made out to be a dangerous, heartless warlord (even if he does have a laughable name), his ridiculous yellow cowboy hat and boots take away from this personality. Maybe this was intentional; however, I found it very distracting.


     Another cool thing about the show is their artfully crafted backdrops. During one scene, a backdrop falls behind leading character, Elder Price while he sings about his favorite place in the world: Orlando, Florida. In order to preserve the back drop and increase it's durability over time, the image was printed (rather than painted) onto poly satin material. This is a very unique thing for Broadway. Printing onto such a large backdrop is very difficult, and very expensive. However, this strategy has kept the back drop looking brand new for all three years the show has run.

     The Book of Mormon is certainly not for the feint of heart; however, it is hilariously raunchy, and will keep you laughing even after the curtains close! The show is predicted to run for 10 years, so rest assured that you WILL get the chance to see just why the Book of Mormon has earned the title, "God's favorite musical". THIS Broadway fanatic (as well as her brother AND grandmother) gives it an A!


Fashion Fox

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Sex is In the Heel: Kinky Boots brings out the best in ALL high heeled lovers!

     Marilyn Monroe once said, “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world”……. but give a man the right boots, and he can conquer the UNIVERSE!

      Broadway spectacle Kinky Boots, written by Harvey Fierstein with music & lyrics by the amazingly talented Cyndi Lauper, is the story of a British man named Charlie who, after a series of unfortunate events, is forced to take over his family's struggling shoe factory.  Charlie struggles to keep the family business alive when he meets Lola (a.k.a Simon), an extravagant drag queen of London, and her larger-than-life band of cross-dressers. Without even trying, Lola inspires Charlie to make specialty boots for transvestite men, which they call Kinky Boots. However, even when Lola agrees to becoming the company's head designer, both Charlie and Lola continue to struggle with living up to certain expectations. 

     I was ESPECIALLY fascinated with the costumes in this show. I'm telling you-- these costumes were unlike anything that I had ever seen before. Imagine the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.... but with men. THAT is the sensation that is Kinky Boots..... and I loved every fabulous second of it! I only wish that I could ask designer, Gregg Barnes what kind of research he had to go through in order to construct the drag attire. 

     Regardless of how Barnes managed to pull it off, I was absolutely blown away by these men bouncing around on stage in their high heeled stiletto boots and skimpy outfits! Not only that, but they had the attitude, sass, and walk to match! I think I liked their personalities just as much, if not MORE, than I loved their outrageous costumes (and we all know how much I loooooove outrageous!) There was one point in the show where one of the "angels" struts out wearing nothing but a string bikini and, for a second, I actually thought he was a woman! Maybe it was the mezzanine seating tampering with my vision, but I couldn't help but admire Barnes work in that moment. I was also inspired by each of the character's passion for shoes. I know the actors we're only well... acting, but being exposed to so much passion and love for fashion really hit it home for me.  

     As flashy as this show gets, Kinky Boots is a touching story about self- acceptance and staying true to who you are.  I highly recommend seeing it. 

     The show has been running on Broadway for over a year now, and those boots are still kickin'! So don't miss out on your chance to see it all for yourself! Even if you can't make it to Broadway, the 2005 film version of Kinky Boots was just released on Netflix. Check it out!


Fashion Fox