Image: Fabian Bimmer/Reuters
In an effort to continue the popular Rocky Balboa franchise, actor Sylvester Stallone has recruited Tony Award-winning song writing team Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty to produce ‘Rocky: The Musical’.
The Huffington Post reports that the production premiered in Hamburg, Germany and will now head to Broadway.
Joop van den Ende, the founder and owner of Stage Entertainment who is behind the musical, said, “We know New York right now is one step higher artistically and commercially than Europe. There is much work to do to make ‘Rocky’ better and better. But people in New York will be pleasantly surprised by what we have.”
Reports indicate that Stallone “will not be reprising the role of Balboa. Instead, the actor and singer Drew Sarich has taken up the character.” Stallone personally recruited Flaherty and his collaborators, according to The New York Times, and his original vision for the musical was “at its core, a love story between two lonely people who struggle to express themselves and ultimately persevere because of each other.”
Written around the first Rocky film, the musical reportedly has notably little boxing and the “set and lighting design are imaginatively low key.”
Tony nominee, Alex Timbers has signed on to direct the musical and has said “his goal for ‘Rocky’ was to combine the intimate and the epic – the indie-movie sensibility of watching two people in a room, then pack in a gladiatorial feel when the emotions fly.”
Stallone commented about the musical, “I imagined it in the style of a ‘West Side Story’ or a ‘Saturday Night Fever’, with these almost childlike characters who the audience will want to root for. But I knew it had to be gritty, street smart. And that it couldn’t be too – what’s the word in musical theater? It couldn’t be too exuberant.”