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'Kinky Boots' a homecoming for two performers

Posted: 10:31 AM, Jan 05, 2016
Updated: 2016-01-05 22:19:47Z

CINCINNATI — The first performance Tuesday at the Aronoff Center of touring Broadway musical  “Kinky Boots” will mark a rare occurrence for two of the show’s performers.

The comedy, about a struggling shoe factory owner who teams up with a cabaret singer in drag to save his business, is a homecoming for  Jennifer Noble  and  Jeff Kuhr.

Noble, the daughter of WCPO web editor Greg Noble, grew up in Delhi and graduated from the School of Creative and Performing Arts in 2006. Kuhr graduated from Turpin High School in 2000.

Jennifer Noble stands fourth from the left in this production still from "Kinky Boots."

“I think some of our cast is annoyed we talk so much about Cincinnati,” Noble said about her and Kuhr’s anticipation to perform in the Queen City as part of the touring ensemble.

The pair did not know one another before Noble was cast as Maggie, a shoe factory worker in the Tony Award-winning production. (Pop star Cyndi Lauper composed the music for the show.)

Kuhr, who has played various male roles since “Kinky Boots” began touring, said he was also thrilled to have another Tri-State resident join the cast.

Far right in trench coat: Jeff Kuhr performs a musical number in "Kinky Boots."

“It was just really exciting and we bonded over Skyline and LaRosa's and Graeter’s,” Kuhr said. The pair even took two fellow cast members by taxi to a nearby Skyline restaurant to sample chili when they performed in Columbus.

Both said they cannot wait to give fellow cast members the full “Cincinnati experience" while they are in town performing through Jan. 17. The excitement is in part because neither said they were ever sure they would get to perform in a large-scale touring production at the Aronoff.

“It’s always been on my bucket list,” Noble said of performing at the Aronoff. "It’s always one of those things that you say, 'I am going to do that one day.'”

“Kinky Boots” is Noble’s second national Broadway tour. She played Scaramouche in “We Will Rock You.” She also played Molly in the Broadway production of “Ghost” two years after graduating from Baldwin Wallace University in Cleveland.

Kuhr acted in a production of “Chicago” in the Aronoff’s Jarson-Kaplan Theater and other regional theaters after settling on dance as a career. But he, too, cannot wait to see the full audience in the Aronoff's main auditorium and their reactions to the show’s final musical number.

“It ends in a big, sparkly, rainbow number,” Kuhr said. “It is about their journey and working together. It can be very touching. I cried when I first saw it. It’s just a really great show. If you are not at your feet by the end, there is something wrong with you, as we always say.”

The performance is also a late Christmas gift for the duo: They have spent months on tour, with brief breaks between productions on the road heading to the next city.

“Overall, touring is a whole lot of fun,” Noble said. “It is also tiring after a while. But even on days when you are so exhausted, (the show) is like a happiness machine. And with performing at home, again you don’t know if that is actually going to happen. I’ve been telling my friends.”

 

"Kinky Boots" at the Aronoff Center

Shows from Jan. 5-17.

Tap here for ticket information and showtimes.