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ROCKY BROADWAY REVIEWS
Opening Night: March 13, 2014
Synopsis: Rocky Balboa, a small-time boxer in Philadelphia, gets a once-in-a-lifetime chance to contend for the heavyweight boxing title against the champion, Apollo Creed, in addition to a chance at love with a shy young woman.
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:
"The official curtain time for Rocky, the new musical at the Winter Garden Theater, is 8 on most nights. But at the risk of promoting tardiness among theatergoers, I feel obliged to point out that the show doesn’t really get started until 10:10 or thereabouts. That’s when a production that has seemed to be down for the count since the opening bars of its overture suddenly acquires a pulse. And the audience wakes out of a couch potato stupor — the kind you experience when you have the television tuned to an infomercial station — to the startling tingle of adrenaline in its blood. Of course, by that point, it’s all over but the fighting."
"Something electric happens at the end of Rocky that gets theatergoers on their feet and writers scuttling for exclamation points: A boxing ring descends from the rafters, then glides into the orchestra! There’s hooks, punches and blood — and a Jumbotron! And then: “Adriaaaaaaaan!” Director Alex Timbers (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) earns his keep right there. If you could win a Tony based on just 20 minutes, Rocky would be a shoo-in. Problem is, that finale is preceded by an hour and a half of less thrilling moments. Turning Sylvester Stallone’s beloved tale into a musical wasn’t the most obvious idea, but some producers believed in it — even if they were from Germany, where the production opened in November 2012. Thursday night, the musical made its Broadway debut with a cast headed by Andy Karl as underdog Rocky Balboa and Terence Archie as heavyweight champ Apollo Creed. And it turns out that a boxing musical wasn’t such a crazy notion, after all."
"The musical version of Rocky is a technical knockout. Christopher Barreca's wondrous set features a regulation-size ring that rises, falls, and pivots to become a screen. Then, during the spectacular final fight, it slides out over the first eight rows of seats, and theatergoers are escorted to onstage bleachers that moments before doubled as the iconic stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In the viscerally realistic bout, choreographed by Steven Hoggett, peacocking champ Apollo Creed (Ragtime's Terence Archie) and our palooka of a hero (The Mystery of Edwin Drood's Andy Karl) make actual contact. No jazz hands, no kick lines, and the only singing comes from an unseen chorus reprising (of course) ''Eye of the Tiger.'' "
"How can you not burst into laughter when Rocky optimistically sings about how, despite all his troubles, "my nose ain't broken"? Seriously, that's the lyric. Based on the 1976 Sylvester Stallone film about Philadelphia boxer Rocky Balboa, expectations for this new musical have been very high. It premiered last year in Germany, where it was known as Rocky: Das Musical. The young and innovative Alex Timbers (Here Lies Love, Peter and the Starcatcher) is directing."
""Nobody leaves the theater humming the scenery." That old Broadway wisecrack, often attributed to Richard Rodgers, implies that no amount of eye-popping visuals in a show can overcome an unmemorable score. Rocky may be the exception. While the songs in this musicalization of the career-making 1976 Sylvester Stallone movie come and go without leaving much of an impression, the stage magic that director Alex Timbers and set designer Christopher Barreca work with the finale fight is so visceral and exhilarating that it sends the audience out on a high. Of course, having an indestructible story with underdog characters worth rooting for doesn’t hurt either."
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