I don’t blame you for not being up on the very latest from Broadway, that gayest of entertainment venues. And I’ll admit that I’m not about to enrich your cultural life by bringing you up to speed. Unfortunately, however, this has broader implications.
I write of Kinky Boots, the current Tony-winning Broadway smash about a transvestite with a heart of gold and the factory men who learn to love him/her/it.
Kinky Boots started off as a British film “based on a true story.” It’s a classic, heartwarming tale: Son saves failing family factory by switching production from traditional men’s shoes to thigh-high rubber stilettos designed to fit fellas who like to wear miniskirts and fake boobs. The market has spoken, and it says fabulous!
The “true story” isn’t as heartwarming. Steve Pateman of W.J. Brooks & Co., in the shoemaking village of Earls Barton, Northamptonshire, did indeed convert his four-generation family business (employing 80 workers) into a drag-queen supplier, after orders for regular footwear plummeted thanks to a market flooded by cheap shoes from China. But the crocodile rock only lasted for two years, because—hang on to your seat—those crafty Chinese slavers got wind of Pateman’s success in this unsavory niche market and flooded it...