Fresh from his debut in Germany, Rocky Balboa is about to send his regards to Broadway. The Italian Stallion will meet the Great White Way in a musical based on the 1976 Academy Award winning movie “Rocky.”
Producers, including Rocky creator and star Sylvester Stallone, have announced that they will get their musical up and punching and going the distance at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York by February 2014.
“Rocky: Das Musical” had its German world premiere in Hamburg last November. It was originally written in English but was translated to German for its debut. When it opened it was generally well-received by German theater critics.
As it trains for its New York opening, the musical stays true to the story of amateur Philadelphia boxer Rocky and his shot against the undefeated heavyweight champion Apollo Creed. It features a musical score by veteran composer Stephen Flaherty and lyricist Lynn Ahrens responsible for “Ragtime” and is based on a story by Thomas Meehan who wrote “The Producers” and “Hairspray.”
While theater-goers should not anticipate a kick-line or tap dance routine set in the “Italian Market” of South Philadelphia or up the Art Museum steps, they will hear the iconic Rocky theme “Gonna Fly Now” and Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” which was featured in “Rocky III.”
Broadway veteran Alex Timbers has been enlisted to direct the Rocky musical. Timbers’ stage credits include the Tony nominated “Peter and the Starcatcher,” “The Pee-wee Herman Show,” and the critically acclaimed musical “Here Lies Love.”
Stallone, who defeated all odds in bringing “Rocky” to the screen in 1976, said he could not be “more proud or excited about this production” and how his original story of Balboa has been brought to life onstage. In a statement Stallone added “the story of ‘Rocky’ was very much like my life at the time – starting out with nothing, having to fight for roles and recognition. So I put those feelings into the body of a boxer and I had no idea there were so many millions of people that felt the same way.” Stallone is hoping that the stage musical will go the distance with fans like Rocky did on the screen.
“Rocky” will be the first new tenant at the Winter Garden in years as the musical “Mamma Mia!” which has played the theater since 2001 is moving to another Broadway venue. “Rocky” also follows two other boxing-related shows on Broadway including fighter Mike Tyson’s one-man show about his life in and out of the ring and a revival of “Golden Boy,” the story of a young man torn between his natural talent as a violinist and the fast money sport of boxing. It will also mark the second musical that is set in Philadelphia in the past few years. “Sister Act,” the hilarious story of Deloris Van Cartier, a diva-wannabe who witnesses a mob hit and hides in convent, is set in North Philadelphia.
No cast has been announced yet for the New York production. An on-sale ticket date will be announced shortly. For more information on the musical visit www.RockyBroadway.com.