Rocky, the musical based on Sylvester Stallone’s Oscar-winning film about a small-time club fighter who gets a million-to-one shot at the heavyweight title, is now playing at the Winter Garden Theatre. Andy Karl (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) and Margo Seibert star as Rocky and his shy girlfriend Adrian, with Terence Archie as the cocky champ Apollo Creed and Danny Mastrogiorgio as Adrian’s over-protective brother, Paulie. Audiences and critics were kayoed by the imaginative staging. Here are five reasons to get in the ring with Rocky.
You don’t have to be a fan of the movie to enjoy this show
Everyone loves an underdog story and you’ll find yourself cheering for the scrappy hero to go the distance as he battles through 15 rounds to make his grab for boxing glory.
If you are a fan of the movie, there’re plenty of iconic moments
Stallone co-authored the book with Tony winner Thomas Meehan (Annie, The Producers, Hairspray). All the familiar characters and story turns are here including Rocky’s drinking the raw eggs, punching the sides of beef, talking with his turtles Cuff and Link, and of course, running up the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps. The score includes the theme from the movie (“Gonna Fly Now”) and “Eye of the Tiger” from the sequel Rocky III.
The show has an impressive theatrical pedigree
In addition to Meehan, the creative team contains numerous Tony winners and nominees. The score is by composer Stephen Flaherty and lyricist Lynn Ahrens, the team behind Ragtime and Once on This Island. The innovative Alex Timbers (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Peter and the Starcatcher and Here Lies Love) repeats his direction from the show’s hit premiere in Hamburg, Germany. The choreography is by Steven Hoggett (Once) and Kelly Devine (Rock of Ages).
Andy Karl and Margo Seibert make the roles their own
The romantic leads go far beyond copying Stallone and Talia Shire’s movie versions. The chemistry between them is palpable and when their voices combine, it’s theatrical magic.
The climactic fight sequence will knock you out
It’s like nothing else on Broadway right now. The first 20 rows of theatergoers are ushered on stage, an enormous boxing ring flies in the middle of the theater, a jumbotron with multiple TV screen descends and you are right in the middle of a high-stakes match. The ring revolves, cameramen capture live video, two sportcasters high above the stage offer color commentary, and it feels so real it’s as you’re right beside Rocky landing every punch.