*Robert Townsend’s “The Five Heartbeats” is on its way to Broadway and the play will “tell a similar story with music that people know from the movie, but there is a composer, Grammy-Award winner, a guy who has won some big awards who already said he will write an original song for us,” said Townsend.
The filmmaker told Deadline that he’s in negotiations with a Broadway producer and writing the play with Kennen Ivory Wayans,” his original partner on the movie script. The story centers on the challenges endured by five male singers in a musical group during the rise of Motown.
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Townsend recently premiered his documentary, “Making the Five Heartbeats,” in LA to a star-studded audience. The doc will play at limited theater locations in December.
Harlem World said of the documentary:
While pain, jealousy, distrust, favoritism, and love are brought to life in a manner which not only saddens your soul, you are entertained and inspired at the same time. While you patiently await the turning point of each scene, you are reminded that “A Heart is a House For Love”
The original 1991 musical drama film was passed on at every studio “before it landed at management company Morra Brezner and Steinberg. They loved the script and got it going with their friend Joe Roth who was then chairman at 20th Century Fox,” Deadline writes.
The script was greenlit with an $8.7M budget by Roth and The Temptations and The Dells, who inspired the story, were hired as technical advisors on the film. Fun Fact: Townsend wanted Denzel Washington for the role of Eddie but actor Michael Wright was hired instead.
The film received mixed reviews and grossed $8.75M at the box office. It wasn’t until it came out on home video that “The Five Heartbeats” became a classic and it now airs during the holidays on networks such as BET and Bounce.