Johannes Radebe to make musical debut in return of Kinky Boots

Strictly Come Dancing star Johannes Radebe will make his musical debut in Kinky Boots when the stage show returns to the UK next year.

The professional dancer will take on the role of drag queen Lola in the show, which features a score by Cyndi Lauper and book by Harvey Fierstein.

The show is based on a true story and the 2005 movie of the same name, about a man named Charlie Price who inherits his family’s failing shoe factory.

It is his meeting with Lola, who is plagued by unsteady heels, that might hold the answer to saving the struggling business.

Kinky Boots stars Johannes Radebe and Dan Partridge (Ollie Rosser)
Kinky Boots stars Johannes Radebe and Dan Partridge (Ollie Rosser)

Stage star Dan Partridge will play Charlie when the musical opens at the Curve, Leicester on January 17 2025 before a tour of the UK and Ireland.

Radebe, who was born in a township in South Africa, joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2018 and his first professional partner was Catherine Tyldesley in 2019, the same year he performed in the show’s first same-sex routine with fellow professional Graziano Di Prima.

In 2021 he made history in the first all-male partnership to compete on the show, with celebrity baker John Whaite.

His most recent partner was tennis star Annabel Croft in the 2023 series.

Lauper said “Kinky Boots is one of the things I’m proudest of in my career, and I’m so excited that audiences will get to see it again, in a new production.

“It’s like a happy pill – and we could all use some of that right now! I can’t think of a better time or place to relaunch this special show (than) in its place of origin.”

Kinky Boots musical – London
Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper (Ian West/PA)

Curve chief executive Chris Stafford and artistic director Nikolai Foster added: “We all know Johannes for his extraordinary artistry on the dancefloor, but seeing him inhabit the astonishing world of Lola in Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper’s proud, punchy and passionate Kinky Boots has been an electrifying and profoundly moving experience.

“Johannes is joined by Curve regular, the magnificent Dan Partridge, as Charlie Price and a world-class creative team, led by designer Robert Jones, choreographer Leah Hill and musical supervisor George Dyer.

Dan Partridge plays Charlie Price (Ollie Rosser)
Dan Partridge plays Charlie Price (Ollie Rosser)

“We are beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to create a brand new Kinky Boots at Curve, alongside our terrific co-producers at Royo, returning the story to its native Midlands and manufacturing heartland of Leicester, where our theatre proudly stands today.

“This is a story of British industrial heritage, told through Fierstein’s fiercely intelligent words, and Lauper’s explosive songs, in a truly joyful musical about overcoming adversity, celebrating individuality, the power of a good pair of heels and community spirit.

“We can’t wait to share this explosion of joy with audiences next year.”

Kinky Boots first premiered on stage in the US in 2012 and made its Broadway debut in 2013.

It first opened in the West End in 2015 and ran until 2019.