Drag Queens, "Kinky Boots" And Members Of Congress (It's Not What You Think)

Drag Queens, "Kinky Boots" And Members Of Congress (It's Not What You Think)

  • (l-r) Daryl P. Friedman, Cyndi Lauper, Stephen Oremus, and William Wittman
    Photo: Mark Sullivan/Getty Images

I can honestly state it was the most times I've ever used the word "kinky" in a congressional briefing.

Maybe I should start from the beginning.

GRAMMY winner Cyndi Lauper is best known for her '80s pop hits. Now she's made the successful transition into musical theater as the composer of "Kinky Boots," which this year earned her a GRAMMY for Best Musical Theater Album (the show already received six Tonys). Her journey from creating the music to recording the original cast album of the show is fascinating, and she shared the story with a congressional delegation at a GRAMMY Week briefing in Los Angeles.

Cyndi, along with "Kinky Boots" cast album producer William Wittman and the show's musical director, Stephen Oremus, joined me on a GRAMMY Industry Roundtable panel titled "Anatomy Of A GRAMMY-Nominated Album" about the challenges of making a cast album — and how pop/rock artists make the transition to Broadway.

With her usual candor and unique humor, Cyndi helped bring more attention to the incredibly talented group of people who work behind the scenes to bring great music to the public — an important reminder for the policymakers in attendance who may soon be working on a copyright overhaul.

The panelists explained how each creator in the chain is compensated, how digital royalties are often miniscule (Wittman noted a recent Google royalty check for one penny), and how important wireless mics are in a Broadway show (the Federal Communications Commission is considering reducing spectrum available for mics).

By the end, Cyndi and company gave the legislators a great understanding of the process of music creation. Oh, and she also gave them autographed copies of the Kinky Boots album — no doubt the only "kinky" gift to legislators officially approved by House ethics rules.

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