Kenny Leon plans to direct a legit adaptation of the 1967 pic “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” aiming for a Broadway berth in fall 2008.
Leon (“A Raisin in the Sun”) will helm a script adapted from the film by Todd Kreidler, the dramaturg with whom Leon worked on the recent August Wilson plays “Gem of the Ocean” and “Radio Golf.”
Show will be produced by Jeffrey Finn, also a producer of the 2005 revival of “On Golden Pond” that starred James Earl Jones. Finn originated the idea to adapt “Guess” into a play.
“Guess” follows a young white woman introducing her family to her black fiance (played in the pic by Sidney Poitier). The screenplay by William Rose won an Oscar, as did Katharine Hepburn, who played the young woman’s mother. Film also included the last screen appearance by Spencer Tracy, who played the father of the bride-to-be.
Kreidler’s two-act, eight-character adaptation will closely follow the pic’s storyline and retain its late ’60s setting. Single-set play will take place in a living room.
Stage script is currently being written. Although it is too early to begin casting, “I do imagine this will be a star cast project,” Finn said.
Although adaptations of movies into legit musicals have become increasingly prevalent on the Rialto in recent years (“Legally Blonde,” “Hairspray,” “The Lion King”), it’s far less common for a pic to be adapted into a straight play. In 2002, a non-tuner version of another 1967 movie, “The Graduate,” opened on Broadway and ran for about a year.
A 2005 movie remake of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” called “Guess Who,” starred Bernie Mac in the Tracy role and Ashton Kutcher as the young fiance.