Broadway Winter 2013/Spring 2014 Guide
by Whitney Spaner, 12/09/2013
Photo: Matthew Murphy
In the film that won the 1976 Oscar for best picture, the down-and-out Philadelphian Rocky Balboa explains to his girlfriend, Adrian, why he's a boxer: "'Cause I can't sing or dance." Well, after six Rocky films, creator and star Sylvester Stallone has decided that his mythic everyman can do just that. Stallone's idea to musicalize Rocky—he is producer of this project, not an actor in it—was initially met with some skepticism, just as his underdog avatar was when plucked from obscurity to fight the heavyweight champ, Apollo Creed, in the original film. Even the show's creative team—the fast-rising director Alex Timbers, Ragtime songwriters Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and Annie book writer Thomas Meehan—had reservations about bringing the Italian Stallion to the stage. But just as Rocky taught generations of moviegoers, sometimes it pays to believe. Rocky das Musical, a staging of the project entirely in German, debuted last year in Germany's theater-friendly Hamburg to great reviews, and now the show (in English) is moving into the main arena: Broadway. Timbers, who garnered a Tony nomination for directing the spectacular Peter and the Starcatcher, is known for bringing an inventive downtown directing sensibility uptown, and he has said Rocky will keep its gritty indie-film feel. The hunky Andy Karl, who has starred in several movie-to-musical adaptations in the past few years—among them 9 to 5 and Legally Blonde—stars as the protagonist, and newcomer Margo Seibert will play Adrian. Prepare to be knocked out.
Winter Garden Theatre, 1634 Broadway. Previews start February 11; opens March 13.