This staging of “Kinky Boots” is at its best whenever Lola is around. That’s because the actor embodying Lola, Helen Hayes Award winner DeCarlo Raspberry, is impressively forceful in terms of both acting and singing. In musical numbers including “Hold Me in Your Heart,” “The Land of Lola” and the duet with Hirsh titled “I’m Not My Father’s Son,” Raspberry stands tall in red boots.
-Mike Giuliano, January 30, 2020
“…accompanied by a singing stevedore trio of Andre Hinds, Anwar Thomas and DeCarlo Raspberry — who also show off exceptional dance skills.”
-Mary Johnson, February 6, 2017
and Ariel’s sea creature friends, including the crab named Sebastian (DeCarlo Raspberry), whose cheerful, calypso-inflected personality is delightfully showcased in the show’s best-known musical number, “Under the Sea.”
-Mike Giuliano, December 5, 2018
But most of the fun in this show is cornered by DeCarlo Raspberry as that jovial Caribbean singing crab, Sebastian. His standout numbers from the film, “Under the Sea” and “Kiss the Girl,” both (perish the thought) land on grateful ears here thanks to Raspberry’s cheerful joie de vivre.
-John Harding, November 30, 2018
Raspberry channels Harvey Fierstein in his every sharp quip and comeback, making such a strong impression as Lola that it’s a shock when he arrives later at Charlie’s factory dressed as a man. It’s Raspberry’s bravura performance of numbers like “Land of Lola” and the explosive “Hold Me in Your Heart” that display the full reach of his award-winning star power.
-John Harding, January 23, 2020
Guest Mentor DeCarlo Raspberry shined in the role of Colehouse Walker, the black musician who dreams of starting a family with Sarah in the iconic song “On the Wheels of a Dream,” only to find that dreams don’t always come true.
-Nicole Hertvik, April 22, 2018
"Decarlo Raspberry, as the mysterious Streetsinger, blends all the charms of a great storyteller with moments of real vulnerability."
-Ben Fisler, March 20, 2018
"DeCarlo Raspberry makes Curtis something more than an ambitious music mogul with sensitive renditions of “Family” and “You Are My Dream.”
-John Harding, September 10, 2017
"DeCarlo Raspberry proves another outstanding singer as the play’s comical heavy, Curtis, nearly stopping the show with his smooth blues-rich solo on “When I Find My Baby.”
-John Harding, September 17, 2016
"And what can I say about DeCarlo Raspberry who plays Dr. Frank-n-Furter? Introducing himself to the audience with hair and makeup in check, bustier on point, seamed stockings, and wearing heels at least eight inches, while singing “Sweet Transvestite,” and throughout the show, there was no question he was the “Grand Dame.”
-Jacqueline Brown, August 29, 2015
"DeCarlo Raspberry is especially effective in numbers that show off his handsome baritone, such as the “Poems” challenge duet and the lovely “Fear No More.”
-John Harding, September 21, 2014
"Another highlight is the prisoner’s chorus. Members Nicholas Carratura, Elliot Matheny, Alex Alburqueque, Sam Jones, DeCarlo Raspberry, and David Wolff bring the house down on both “This freedom was too good to last” and “What do I see? What do I feel?”
-Jessica Vaughan, June 19, 2016
Clopin played by DeCarlo Raspberry is featured in few songs, “Topsy Turvy (Part I and II)” in Act I and “Court of Miracles’ in Act II. Raspberry’s wonderful vocalizations and stage presence are perfectly directed so that he is the center of our attention during these numbers.
-Susan Brall, April 11, 2019
Raspberry makes Toby’s “Kinky Boots” a most memorable production. He becomes the character and never veers from this portrayal of one of the most interesting and complex transvestites to ever appear on stage. Whether he is singing as the chanteuse, “The Land of Lola” and “Sex is in the Heel” or belting out the diva-like ballad, “Hold Me in Your Heart,” Raspberry defines this role. He is in the spotlight both as the drag queen performing for his audience and later in a wonderfully choreographed boxing match and gives us a most powerful performance.
-Susan Brall, January 22, 2020
"DeCarlo Raspberry plays Curtis Taylor, Jr. and holds his own throughout the show as a car salesman turned talent manager. Please excuse me if I don’t remember your name, or even your face at first but I rarely forget a voice. I remember this young man as one of the voices of “Show Boat” earlier this year – also at Toby’s Dinner Theatre. Any women who has ever been dumped for a “perceived” hotter chick feels no love for his character; (Size zero is so over rated!) However, it’s hard not to adore his rich, smooth voice giving a solid performance at all times."
-Raychel Harvey-Jones, September 9, 2017
"One of my favorite brothers was DeCarlo Raspberry as Naphtali who performs the “Benjamin Calypso” solo. He went from gravelly low notes to a super falsetto and his acting and dancing was as amazing as his voice."
-Liz Ruth-Brinegar, June 17, 2017
"The contrasting voices of the Stevedores played by Andre Hinds, DeCarlo Raspberry, Anwar Thomas were outstanding."
-Raychel Harvey-Jones, January 21, 2017
Raspberry has a simply gorgeous voice, stage presence in buckets, and is the de facto leader whenever he’s on stage, but he’s pro enough not to then upstage anyone he’s with. It’s a part that could get alternately overblown and then too sentimental, but Raspberry reins it in when needed and pops the cork when it’s time to strut.
-Jill Kyle-Keith, January 24, 2020
"The tale is narrated by a charming man known as the Streetsinger (DeCarlo Raspberry) and told as if our storytellers are people experiencing homelessness, right in front of us on a street corner or in an alleyway.Raspberry enraptures as soon as he opens his mouth."
-Brett Steven Abelman, March 20, 2018
"DeCarlo Raspberry as handsome slick-talking car salesman turned music mogul Curtis, shows some nice vocals in “Family” and “You Are My Dream,” and his chemistry with his Dreams is bordering on palpable. Part con man, part dreamer himself, he is someone the audience can look the other way at his transgressions."
-Keith Loria, September 14, 2017
DeCarlo Raspberry, who has mastered the art of the jittering legs and semi-scuttle walk of a nervous crab strung out on the edge, brings an undeniable livelihood to Sebastian, the court composing crab who is ready to break out of his shell. With a flavorful Jamaican accent, Raspberry is all the rage when it comes to his own facial expressions, especially when he’s being blasted at by King Triton. With vocal excellence, he eases his way into “Kiss the Girl” and finds a beautiful balance as one fourth of the quartet featured in “If Only.” Cheeky comments and hilarious moments aside, Raspberry is one hot crab when he slams his way through the big show-stealing number, “Under the Sea.” When they say, “that’s why it’s hotter under the water…” it’s because of Raspberry blowing up the number with intense stage heat, honest and enthusiastic energy, and a whole boatload of musical talent. There’s no stopping that crab, even if he can’t always keep track of Ariel
-Amanda Gunther, December 5, 2018
DeCarlo Raspberry’s Lola is a phenomenal sensation, truly the epitome of a perfect performance and a triumphant landmark in the young actor’s stage career.
-Amanda Gunther, January 26, 2020
Sharing the floor of the sock hop with Vince Fontaine, DeCarlo Raspberry is none other than Johnny Casino, with personality for miles pumping out of his booming vocals and funky fresh dance moves
.-Amanda Gunther, June 6, 2019
Spry of limb and sprightly of spirit, Raspberry is not without depth and versatility in his portrayal of Clopin.
-Amanda Gunther, April 10, 2019
"As for DeCarlo Raspberry’s Street Singer, he lives up to the character’s moniker of ‘Magic Man.’ That number, “Magic Man”, is hot to trot with blues, showcasing a variety of Raspberry’s vocal talents and capabilities. Raspberry’s deep, robust, and soulful sound is a gift to Schoenfeld and McPherson, adding a rawness, a realness, and a gritty existence to the character, without vocally compromising the composition of the songs, that just can’t be beat. From the moment he welcomes the audience into the world, right through to the end, there isn’t an ounce of artifice about him; everything happens with conviviality and a fully present spatial awareness."
.-Amanda N. Gunther, March 27, 2018
"Raspberry is the treacherous serpent we all love to hate. Unctuous and slimy with a rogue appeal to his character, he drives the quartet blend of “Steppin’ to the Bad Side” with himself, Jimmy Early, C.C., and Wayne (Gregory Banks), using deeply soulful sound that makes the slow, smoldering intro to this number one of the most harrowing yet sublime harmonious moments of the show. With a gifted vocal sound, Raspberry even tries to lay on the sugar during his ballad, “You Are My Dream”, but manages to maintain that slick essence of sleaze about his person, grasping control of every situation with his clutching claws and ferocious personality."
-Amanda N. Gunther, September 8, 2017
"Raspberry is a hot-shot in a straw hat putting a blaze under this tropical island Calypso-inspired number as he shimmies, shakes, and sings his way all around the limbo stick. Raspberry’s charm and scintillating voice is so tempting in this number that he turns Joseph’s battalion of guards (the female ensemble who in that moment are deadlocked in poses of serious resting rage face) into singing and dancing party girls!"
-Amanda N. Gunther, June 21, 2017
"Ramped with rage, Raspberry has frightening facial expressions, especially when it comes to his more frustratingly furious moments. Possessing a voice like Barry White, he momentarily makes the audience forget that “When I Find My Baby” is actually a homicidal snuff song. Bold, deep, and full of sound, both this number and its reprise echo quite exceptionally just how dark the character of Curtis Jackson really is."
-Amanda N. Gunther, September 17, 2016
"DeCarlo Raspberry is a hoot as the murderous sleaze, Curtis Jackson, and has a hilarious enlightening song, “When I Find My Baby,” that reads like a bucket list of all the things he’s going to do to Delores when he finds her—and it ain’t pretty."
-Keith Loria, October 14, 2016
DeCarlo Raspberry is terrific as he skitters about the stage as Sebastian the crab. He leads the show’s two big, best known numbers with aplomb, and he’s just fun to watch whenever he’s on stage even if he’s not the focal point.
-Chuck Duncan, November 30, 2018
Raspberry is simply divine. Raspberry recently won a Helen Hayes award for his performance at Toby’s as Sebastian in The Little Mermaid, and while that role is showy, this role and this performance is showstopping.
-Chuck Duncan, January 26, 2020
"It’s really hard and unfair to single out just a few people in a show like this where everyone is just so good and all of the main actors are at the top of their game including Decarlo Raspberry (Curtis), Anwar Thomas (Marty) and Denaé Fielder (Michelle)."
-Chuck Duncan, September 8, 2017
It's wonderful to see DeCarlo Raspberry featured as Sebastian, as he and the part seem custom made for one another. His silly walk and slapstick comedy are terrific.
-December 5, 2018
"In addition to the two leading females, the remainder of the ensemble is strong and cohesive, anchored by the Steetsinger, played by Decarlo Raspberry, who acts as a narrator and participant, and in a brilliant piece of writing, more integral to the plot than you first realize. The remaining ensemble are all just as strong and help portray this piece with heart and soul."
-Keith Tittermary, March 23, 2018
It is largely the vocal and physical antics of Helen Hayes Award-winning DeCarlo Raspberry as Lola that gives Toby's production of KINKY BOOTS much of its power and drive. His amazing, often gravity-defying movements are fascinating, and his powerhouse vocals delightful.
-Cybele Pomeroy, January 26, 2020
DeCarlo Raspberry as Clopin looks athletic and crisp, and conveys opportunism and shiftiness without sacrificing likeability.
-April 19, 2019
Mr. Raspberry as Sebastian, a crab, is comical and campy. A veritable scene-stealer, Sebastian is a servant of King Triton and is assigned to watch over Ariel and helps Ariel charm Prince Eric. His spot-on tenor is evident in group numbers “Under the Sea” and “Kiss the Girl.”
-Steve Charing, November 30, 2018
In a tour de force, DeCarlo Raspberry sparkles as the drag queen headliner Lola and should be a serious contender for a Helen Hayes Award. Summoning up his cache of potent acting skills, Mr. Raspberry convincingly displays a wide range of emotions from high camp to melancholy.
-Steve Charing, January 26, 2020