July 8, 2008 / 6:08 AM / 10 years ago

"Kinky Boots" marching to Broadway

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - “Kinky Boots” could be strutting to Broadway. The British comedy feature, which starred Chiwetel Ejiofor as a drag queen, has been acquired for the stage by veteran Broadway producers Daryl Roth (“August: Osage County”) and Hal Luftig (“Movin’ Out”), who aim to turn it into a musical.

Chiwetel Ejiofor attends the screening of "Talk to Me" at the Mann Village theatre during the opening night for the 2007 Los Angeles Film Festival in Los Angeles June 21, 2007. "Kinky Boots", the British comedy feature, which starred Ejiofor as a drag queen, has been acquired for the stage by veteran Broadway producers Daryl Roth who aim to turn it into a musical. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Jerry Mitchell, who directed the Broadway adaptation of “Legally Blonde,” is in talks to direct the stage project.

“Kinky Boots,” released by Miramax in 2006, depicts the drag queen’s efforts to help the chief of a struggling shoe company save his business by designing a line of fetish shoes. Ejiofor earned a Golden Globe nomination for his work.

Although the film is not a musical — it contained just a few cabaret numbers — and also played primarily as a comedy, producers say they want to emphasize the emotional aspects of the story in the theatrical production.

“The story is really about relationships,” Roth said, “and I want to find the heart at the center of it.”

After seeing “Kinky Boots” at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006, Roth was attracted to its theatrical possibilities and eventually acquired the stage rights from Miramax’s Disney parent.

Roth is one of several producers who has been bringing the theater and film worlds closer together during the past few years; she recently joined with film producer Richard Gladstein to acquire the film rights for the off-Broadway drama “Apologize, Apologize” and will develop it for the big screen.

Mitchell is no stranger to film-to-stage adaptations. The Tony winner served as the choreographer for the Broadway productions of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” “Hairspray” and “The Full Monty,” which like “Kinky Boots” is a raunchy but goodhearted British comedy with class overtones.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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