Sylvester Stallone’s barely comprehensible mumbling was one of the highlights of the Oscar-winning movie Rocky. That, and the epic training montage during which he goes from a journeyman fighter to a serious rival for best boxer in the world in the space of about two minutes. But both would be difficult to bring to the stage. For better or worse, Stallone is trying anyway, and a Broadway musical version will hit New York by February next year.
Is this really a good idea?
Believe it or not, Rocky: Das Musical has already been a big hit in Hamburg. It stuck closely to the original movie’s plot, and was produced by Stallone and Ukrainian boxing brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko. The classic songs Gonna Fly Now and Eye Of The Tiger (the latter was actually in Rocky III) have both made it into the Broadway version. Bill Taylor, of the production company Stage Entertainment USA, said the boxing action would surprise audiences. “It’s stunning movement representing some of the sparring and the fighting. It’s very, very cleverly created.” At the heart of the musical is the gushy love story between Rocky and Adrianna “Adrian” Pennino.
Could Stallone don the gloves once more?
The actors have yet to be announced, but you suspect not. He is, however, very excited by the prospect of bringing the show to New York. He told The Hollywood Reporter he was “proud” of how “my original story of Rocky Balboa has been brought to spectacular life onstage. 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 in the body of a boxer, and I had no idea there were so many millions of people that felt the same way.”
Will it transfer to the West End?
If it’s successful on Broadway, it stands a good chance. Recent hits like Wicked and The Book Of Mormon have had no trouble crossing over and entertaining British audiences so we’ll wait and see.