"Kinky Boots"

"Kinky Boots," presented by Best of Broadway, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center. Provided

It’s the winner of more than a dozen top theater nods — six Tony Awards, three Outer Critics Circle Awards and three Olivier Awards among them — and yet its story began far from the stages of Broadway or the West End.

The acclaimed musical “Kinky Boots” traces its origins to a 1999 episode of the BBC Two documentary series “Trouble at the Top.” The series followed British businesses as they struggled against disputes, transitions or, in cases such as Steve Pateman’s episode, impending closures.

Pateman was the fourth-generation owner of a small shoe factory in Northamptonshire, England, the arguable center of British shoemaking since the medieval era. Unfortunately for Pateman, demand was waning for high-quality leather brogues, oxfords and other traditional shoe styles.

Desperate and running out of ideas, Pateman turned to the unlikely market of men’s fetish footwear to save the family business, launching what was to become the premier brand for thigh boots, Divine Footwear.

Unimaginable as it may have been at the time, that 30-minute episode of reality TV would inevitably inspire a 2005 film and hundreds of theatrical productions.

Geoff Deane, co-founder and former vocalist of the Modern Lovers, teamed with song and screenwriter Tim Firth to write the script for the 2005 American-British comedic drama film, “Kinky Boots,” under the direction of Julian Jarrold (“Becoming Jane,” “The Crown” TV series). When theater producers Hal Luftig and Daryl Roth viewed the film separately, they each saw an opportunity to produce a theatrical version of the story and joined forces to realize their shared vision.

After securing the adaptation rights, Roth and Luftig recruited Broadway director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell (“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” “The Full Monty”) to direct, actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein (“La Cage aux Folles,” “Torch Song Trilogy”) to write the playbook and pop musician Cyndi Lauper to write the music and lyrics. After a month-long trial run in Chicago, the play debuted at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on Broadway in March 2013.

Loosely based on Pateman’s experience building Divine Footwear, the play follows fourth-generation shoemaker Charlie Price as he tries to salvage his family’s ailing Northampton shoe factory after the sudden death of his father.

By either fate or chance, Charlie finds himself in a London nightclub one night when a drag show commences. Charlie notices that the boots of the performers cannot support their weight, and asks his new friend and frequent drag performer Lola why they don’t purchase better boots. Lola tells Charlie that the boots are a vital part of any drag act but no company produces high-end thigh boots capable of supporting a man’s weight. Charlie, having already resigned to the thought of losing his factory, fails to spot the opportunity to save both his family’s legacy and secure his employees’ future employment.

He returns to Northampton to continue employee layoffs, when factory worker Lauren confronts his lack of good business sense by telling him he is missing a chance to capitalize on a profitable and neglected market.

Together, Charlie, Lola and Lauren set out to rebrand the factory as the drag star’s preeminent designer of “kinky boots.” Along the way, lessons on prejudice, tradition, love, friendship and courage transform not only Charlie, but an entire town.

Presented by Best of Broadway, “Kinky Boots” will run at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive, Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Tickets start at $37 (plus fees) and are available online at www.Ticketmaster.com, at the North Charleston Coliseum Advance Ticket Office, Ticketmaster outlets at select Publix grocery stores or by phone at 1-800-745-3000.

Doors for both performances open at 6:30 p.m.; shows start at 7:30 p.m. There is a $10 (cash only) parking fee. Call 843-529-5000 or go to www.NorthCharlestonColiseumPAC.com for more information.

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