Stuart Weitzman pumps light up 'Cinderella' on Broadway

BEST ORCHESTRATIONS: Chris Nightingale, "Matilda The Musical, "

BEST ORCHESTRATIONS: Chris Nightingale, "Matilda The Musical, " Stephen Oremus, "Kinky Boots," Ethan Popp & Bryan Crook, "Motown The Musical," Danny Troob, "Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella"
(Credit: AP)

There would be no "happily ever after" for Cinderella without her glitzy glass slippers, so careful attention was paid to the shoes for the new Broadway production.

For "Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella," costume designer William Ivey Long and shoe designer Stuart Weitzman created a pair of pumps so sparkly they "light up the upper balcony," Weitzman says. "The shoe is its own character in the show, and it will inspire the dream for so many other women."

Shoe shopaholics and Carrie Bradshaw-types surely have been inspired by the Cinderella fashion fantasy, muses Weitzman, a 26-year industry veteran. How could they not? After all, he says, Cinderella gets the shoes -- flattering, delicate and powerful all at once -- and then gets her Prince Charming.

Because the shoes are so famous, the designers had to work with a certain set of expectations: The shoes had to be romantic and sexy, have a sparkly, fairy-dust touch -- and they had to be seen by everyone in the theater.

Actress Laura Osnes, who plays Cinderella, couldn't risk shards and splinters from real glass, so the designers used Plexiglas instead.

"This is the most magical world I've been asked to conjure up," says Long, whose 60-plus show credits include costumes for "Chicago," "Hairspray" and "The Boy From Oz." Instead of going all Disney or using the famous French illustrations that came a century before (Cinderella-style folk tales are hundreds of years older than that) as inspiration, Long decided to weave nature -- with an emphasis on butterflies and vines -- into his visual picture.

They had to walk a fine line to avoid anything too gimmicky, even working on the giant Broadway stage, so they decided against threading lights through the heel of the shoe or other special effects.

Weitzman says he could imagine his typical customer wearing a version of the Cinderella slipper at a summer party or a night on the town. He adds: "It would be one sexy shoe with cool jeans."

So, yes, his Clearly Timeless collection based on the fairy-tale footwear eventually will be shipped to stores.

The making of 'Kinky Boots'

Cinderella may have her glass slippers, but Lola, the central character in the new Broadway musical "Kinky Boots" is, yep, you guessed it, all about the boots.

The production, in previews for an April 4 opening at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, revolves around Charlie Price (Stark Sands), who is desperately trying to save his father's on-the-brink-of-bankruptcy shoe factory. Through odd circumstance, he meets Lola (Billy Porter), a high-style entertainer/drag queen who is in need of sturdy stilettos -- solid enough to support a man's weight. The result? Some mega-flashy, thigh-high, kinky boots that boast an undeniable wow-factor . . . and 6-inch heels. These are the subject of one of the show's most memorable numbers called "Sex Is in the Heel." (You'll have to see it to believe it.)

"In a funny way, my journey parallels the story -- to create boots for the weight of a man so he wouldn't snap a heel," says Tony-winning costume designer Gregg Barnes, who spent about a year working on the show with a focus on those eye-popping yet durable boots for Lola and her cross-dressing chorus.

Barnes, who did a lot of research on Pinterest, says, "The red boot" (the show's star) "is a riff on an actual Fendi boot, and other muses included Jimmy Choo and Giuseppe Gianotti, so a salute to them."

As for the comfort level of the guys who wear the boots onstage, Barnes says, "Shout out to the cast. Not one of them have complained, though I'm sure they probably soak their feet at night."

For the record, while we're not lusting for the kooky kicks, there is one pair of red pumps in the production that we'd love to own, custom-made for the show by Manolo Blahnik . . . these, not kinky at all.

-- BY ANNE BRATSKEIR

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