Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Rocky musical heading to Broadway

Sylvester Stallone wrote the Rocky screenplay and it won the best picture Oscar in 1976

Sylvester Stallone hopes a musical based on his beloved boxing film Rocky will be a hit on Broadway.

Producers said they plan to get Rocky up and punching at the Winter Garden by February following a successful debut in Hamburg, Germany last autumn.

Based on the Oscar-winning 1976 film, the musical features a score by Ragtime veterans Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, and a story by Thomas Meehan, who wrote The Producers and Hairspray.

Originally written in English but translated into German for its world premiere and billed as Rocky: Das Musical, the show is produced by Sly and Stage Entertainment USA.

"The reason I think it has worked so well there and why I think it'll work on Broadway is that, yes, it's a story about boxing, but the real story is actually an intimate, powerful and gritty and moving love story between two people who are both lonely and in a difficult place in their worlds," said Bill Taylor, managing director of Stage Entertainment USA. "They sort of rescue each other. It's very uplifting."

The musical stays close to the film, which charted the rise and romance of amateur boxer and debt collector Rocky Balboa, played in Germany by Drew Sarich. No casting has been decided for New York.

In the story, Balboa, nicknamed the Italian Stallion, gets his shot against undefeated heavyweight champion Apollo Creed, played in the film by Carl Weathers. He also woos a love interest, Adrianna "Adrian" Pennino. Stallone wrote the screenplay and it won the best picture Oscar in 1976.

The musical will follow two other boxing-related works to appear on Broadway recently - Mike Tyson's one-man show about his life in and out of the ring, and a revival of Clifford Odets' Golden Boy about a young man torn between his natural talent as a violinist and the fast money of boxing.

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