A couple of weeks ago Tony Award-winning director-choreographer Jerry Mitchell jetted into Sydney from Dallas to oversee the Sydney opening of the musical Kinky Boots. He had been in London the week before Dallas, and New York the week before that. Two hours after landing in Sydney he was at a media lunch looking bright-eyed and bushy tailed, and charming everyone with his infectious enthusiasm.

“Jerry Mitchell jet-lagged has more energy than I have after eight hours sleep and a big breakfast,” quips Toby Francis, who plays Charlie in the Australian production.

Kinky Boots, Jerry Mitchell Jerry Mitchell at the Los Angeles opening of Kinky Boots. Photograph © Chelsea Lauren

By all accounts, Mitchell is just the same in the rehearsal room. “He likes to have fun and be high energy and have everyone enjoy it. There’s no doubt he wants to work, so you put your work hat on and get the job done, but he loves it so much that it’s infectious,” says Toby.

A former Broadway hoofer, Mitchell has a reputation for leaping up during rehearsals and demonstrating what he’s after. A New York Timesjournalist watched him rehearsing the...