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Despite a killer cast, 'Kinky Boots' plays it straight in Miami

. @KinkyBootsBway shines because of star at @ArshtCenter in Miami.

There's no real kink in "Kinky Boots," the musical-comedy playing through Dec. 13 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.

The Broadway hit may trot out female impersonators every third or fourth number, but the show colors strictly within the family-friendly lines, right down to its out-of-nowhere and ridiculously joyful finale. In fact, the whole thing could use a little more danger, as it comes off a little too much like Disney does drag.

Inspired by true events, "Kinky Boots" tells the story of Charlie Price (Adam Kaplan), a fourth-generation owner of a failing men's shoe factory in Northampton, England. Saddled with mounting debt and returned stock, Charlie becomes convinced that his savior is faux female Lola (J. Harrison Ghee), who needs sturdy stiletto-heel boots for himself and his fellow drag-a-licious cabaret performers, called the Angels.

If Charlie can get his rough-hewn factory workers to cooperate with the cross-dressing muses ("we give good epiphany," they sing), his niche line of fabulous footwear might be the star of an all-important shoe fair in Milan, which would save all his longtime and loyal employees' jobs.

Based on a 2005 British film by the same name, which in turn was inspired by a 1999 television documentary, the stage musical debuted in 2013 on the Great White Way and eventually won six Tony Awards. The show boasts a fleet-paced and neatly structured book by Harvey Fierstein ("Torch Song Trilogy," "Hairspray," "La Cage aux Folles") that does everything it needs to do and manages to fill in the supporting roles nicely, with more dash than is the norm. The Tony-winning rollicking score is by Cyndi Lauper, who certainly knows her way around a pop hook and a hypnotic refrain.

And this cast, all just plain slaying it at Tuesday's opening night, know how to take those songs to church, giving fire and fervor to numbers such as "Sex Is in the Heel," "Not My Father's Son," "Everybody Say Yeah" and "Raise You Up/Just Be." Kaplan has the thankless job of playing the straight man, in every sense, but he pulls it off with aplomb. And for a significant amount of time, he holds the spotlight firmly as he wails away in his duets and solo.

But it is Ghee's show to steal, as if anyone else could. His uncanny sense of comedic timing is matched with a big belter of a voice. His character has a little Eartha Kitt mashed up with Nicki Minaj and Patti LaBelle and blended with Flip Wilson's Geraldine Jones, if you can imagine such a thing. If not, picture Rosalind Russell with a hip-hop sensibility. It is an entrancing performance, and every time Ghee is onstage, "Kinky Boots" comes off better than it probably is, since the show rattles off its themes of self-esteem, tolerance and gender blah, blah, blah like a two-hour Power Point presentation.

Incidentally, the road tour will return to South Florida March 1-13 with a run at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale.

"Kinky Boots" will run through Dec. 13 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., in Miami. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday, with matinees 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $29-$145. To order, call 305-949-6722 or go to ArshtCenter.org

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