Everyone is buzzing about the news that The Five Heartbeats is headed to Broadway. Now, our minds are spinning as we are wondering who could be tapped to step into the iconic roles that were debuted in the 1991 musical film.
The original film starred Robert Townsend, Leon Robinson, Tico Wells, Michael Wright and Harry J. Lennix as the R&B group, alongside co-stars like Diahann Carroll.
Townsend, who also produced the film and wrote it with Keenan Ivory Wayans, said that the film would “tell a similar story with music that people know from the movie,” and that it would also have a new, original song.
To have some fun, we’ve rounded up a list of talented singer-actors who could play Eddie, Dresser, Choirboy, J.T. and Duck in the Broadway play:
Luke James as Eddie King, Jr.
James is a no-brainer for anyone doing a wishful casting for a Five Heartbeats remake or Broadway show. The acclaimed R&B singer has built his acting repertoire more recently, starring as Johnny Gill in The New Edition Story. He also has a starring role as Noah Brooks on Fox’s Lee Daniels musical drama, Star. His portrayal of Noah Brooks shows he has the over-the-top antics to portray Eddie King, Jr., originally portrayed by Michael Wright. (Also, contrary to popular belief, the character’s name is Eddie King, Jr., not Eddie Kane, Jr.)
Jussie Smollett as Terrence “Dresser” Williams
Smollett has shown both his acting and vocal chops on Lee Daniels’ musical drama, Empire, with Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard. Now, while it is unclear if he could reach the baritone vocals, with that aside, he’d be perfect to step in the role of Dresser, originally played by Harry J. Lennix.
Elijah Kelley as Anthony “Choirboy” Stone
Kelley co-starred with James in The New Edition Story (as Ricky Bell) and Star, but he’s perhaps best known for his role in the film adaptation of Hairspray. That means he’s specifically tailored for the role of Choirboy and already bears a resemblance to original portrayer, Tico Wells.
Leon Bridges as J.T. Matthews
The Texas-born Bridges is an R&B/soul singer whose sound has been described as a throwback to Otis Redding and Sam Cooke. As of recent, he’s dabbled into acting, portraying Gil Scott-Heron in the Damien Chazelle film, First Man. A breakout role here as J.T. Matthews (originally portrayed by another Leon) would be a big boost if he wanted to get into more acting.
Mishon Ratliff as Donald “Duck” Matthews
The 25-year-old is most known for his childhood starring role in Lincoln Heights. Since then, he’s put out several films and mixtapes, starred in the film Frat Brothers and even has some theatre work with David E. Talbert’s A Fool and his Money. He’s set to make a return to television soon in an undisclosed series regular role and a Broadway stint as Robert Townsend’s movie role would be a great compliment to that.
Do you have any ideas on who should be cast? Share in the comments below!