Kinky Boots, the Broadway musical featuring songs by Cyndi Lauper, won six Tony Awards a few weeks ago. The show’s Tony triumph included a best musical score honor for first-time Broadway composer and lyricist Lauper plus best musical, best choreography and best leading man.
Lauper’s songs are paired with a story by Harvey Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy, Hairspray, Newsies) about a young man who inherits his father’s struggling shoe factory. Kinky Boots’ CD soundtrack contains 15 tracks that show Lauper’s true rock and pop colors. She also throws the neo-disco of “Land of Lola” and rousing gospel-disco uplift of “Raise You Up/Just Be” in the mix. The show’s big ballad, “Hold Me In Your Heart,” sung by the Tony-winning Billy Porter, is among its emotional high points.
Staged Oct. 14, 2012, in honor of 100th anniversary the late folk-singer Woody Guthrie’s birth, Woody Guthrie at 100! Live at the Kennedy Center is a grand hootenanny with a cast of dozens. They sing songs about the working man, the hobo, the homeless, the migrant, a train bound for glory and a magnificent land stretching from sea to sea that belongs to you and me.
Unfortunately, 93-year-old Guthrie contemporary Pete Seeger didn’t make the event, but a wealth of others did, including Guthrie’s 81-year-old protégé, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and Guthrie followers Judy Collins, Donovan, Jackson Browne, John Mellencamp, Lucinda Williams, Rosanne Cash and Ani DiFranco.
Cash, backed by her guitarist husband, John Leventhal, performs a moving rendition of “I Ain’t Got No Home” as well as Guthrie’s gangster ode “Pretty Boy Floyd.” Collins sings a lovely “Pastures of Plenty.” Tom Morello and the Freedom Fighter Orchestra rock through “Ease My Revolutionary Mind,” which features previously unrecorded Guthrie lyrics set to music by Morello.
Naturally, the whole gang gathers on stage for an ensemble finale of “This Land Is Your Land.” In addition to a CD, the two-disc Woody Guthrie at 100! Live at the Kennedy Center contains a DVD featuring the Kennedy Center concert as well as vintage footage of Guthrie performing “John Henry,” “Ranger’s Command” and “Greenback Dollar.”
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