King Kong BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Joan Marcus
  • NY TIMES

  • DEADLINE

  • HR

  • VARIETY

  • TIME OUT

Opening Night:
November 8, 2018
Closing:
Open Ended

Theater: Broadway Theatre / 1681 Broadway, New York, NY, 10019

Synopsis: 

The epic modern myth comes alive on Broadway through an innovative mix of animatronics, puppetry, music and stagecraft! It’s 1931, the world is in the grip of the Great Depression, and New York City is a place of pressure, of desperation, but also of hope. Enter Ann Darrow, a fearless young actress with a will of steel and dreams that reach as high as the just-completed Empire State Building. After a brutal struggle just to stay on her feet, Ann finds her big break in the form of Carl Denham, a fast-talking filmmaker who promises to make her the star of his next big adventure movie. Throwing caution to the winds, she joins Carl on a voyage to the mysterious Skull Island. There, they encounter a wonder more astonishing than they could have possibly imagined: a 20-foot-tall, 2,000-pound ape known only as Kong.

Directed and choreographed by Olivier winner Drew McOnie, KING KONG features an electrifying new score by Marius de Vries (La La Land) and Eddie Perfect (Beetlejuice The Musical), and a book by Jack Thorne, the Tony® and Olivier Award-winning writer of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Don’t miss this exhilarating, emotional encounter with a legend that’s always been too big to contain.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF King Kong

    Review: ‘King Kong’ Is the Mess That Roared

    Jesse Green and Ben Brantley

    November 8, 2018: BEN BRANTLEY Hello, Jesse. Though I’m not in a playful mood this morning — having just seen the spirit-crushing “King Kong” — what if we begin this dialogue with a game? Imagine you are on the street, having just left the theater, and are asked by a television interviewer to describe your response in one word. Well? JESSE GREEN It can’t be printed here, and I’m not even sure it’s one word. (It starts with “ape.”) So I guess I’ll go with “ugh.” BRANTLEY I understand what you’re saying. Since screaming is such a big part of the show, mine would be “aaaaaaaaargh.”

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  • DEADLINE REVIEW OF King Kong

    Broadway’s $35 Million ‘King Kong’ Roars When It Roars, Slips When It Sings: Review

    Greg Evans

    November 8, 2018: Eighth wonder of the world? King Kong probably isn’t even the eighth wonder of Broadway – those kids in The Ferryman aren’t giving up their spots anytime soon – but the big ape does provide some roaring good thrills. Picking over Hollywood’s Depression Era beauty-and-the-beast tale for what still works and ditching what doesn’t – the casting of the African American Christiani Pitts as Ann Darrow swiftly does away with the freighted Fay Wray blonde beauty ideal – director Drew McOnie has captured a wildly impressive 1.2-ton puppet, even if the musical surrounding it is considerably less memorable. So let’s cut to the chase. The monkey in this reported $35 million production is amazing, a 20-foot-tall hybrid of animatronics, puppetry and human performance. Fifteen puppeteers, mostly onstage, work the beast with ropes, poles and pulleys – a show in themselves as they slide down cables like ninjas. Each roar and growl is voiced by an effects-assisted offstage actor – Jon Hoche – giving the creature immediate, live responses.

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  • HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW OF King Kong

    'King Kong': Theater Review

    David Rooney

    November 8, 2018: To quote the title of an R&B hit by early '70s girl group Honey Cone, "One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show." Except that in King Kong, it most definitely does. In fact, that monstrous ape, able to cup an aspiring Hollywood starlet in one giant paw, pretty much is the show in this otherwise blundering musical, in which a low-wattage cast gamely trudges through one embarrassing number or cliché-ridden book scene after another. Even if the star puppet might be better suited for an arena spectacle or theme-park attraction, you can't take your eyes off this technological marvel, not least for its incredible facial expressiveness. It's completely appropriate that the animatronic gorilla and its operators get the show's final bow. This is a rare time I can honestly say that while King Kong the musical is a wretched mess, I would recommend King Kong the stage spectacle. "He's not a film," exclaims Carl Denham in a moment of revelation from the megalomaniacal movie director, a vanilla villain in Eric William Morris' insipid performance. "I thought about it all wrong. He's theater!" That might not be 100 percent accurate, but either way, the ape is simply amazing.

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  • VARIETY REVIEW OF King Kong

    Broadway Review: ‘King Kong’

    Frank Rizzo

    November 8, 2018: “He’s not a film, he’s theater!” says the movie director in the musical “King Kong,” when he realizes that the mighty creature he is about to capture is best presented on a proscenium stage. After an earlier production in Australia and with the addition of a largely new creative team, the producers (led by Global Creatures) of this $35-million Broadway epic, based on the classic 1933 film, have re-envisioned the story in striking theatrical terms, using dazzling projections, super-sized puppetry and lush underscoring to create one thrill ride of a show. Topping the list of visual wows is the magnificent, moving and oh-so-expressive title character who, alas, is not eligible for a Tony. There’s no mention of “musical” in the this musical’s marketing, which is probably a good idea. The show, directed and choreographed by Drew McOnie, disappoints in its mishmash of musical styles — “42nd Street,” “The Last Ship,” even Mel Brooks come to mind as the production runs its course. Individual songs by Eddie Perfect (“Beetlejuice“) are blandly generic and forgettable, though Marius de Vries’ score and Christopher Jahnke’s orchestrations give the show a kind of cinematic swept, as well as transitional cover and emotional underpinnings.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF King Kong

    Broadway goes apeshit.

    Adam Feldman

    November 8, 2018: The truly frustrating thing about King Kong is the waste of it all. Why did it this story, whose central figure necessarily cannot sing, need to be a musical at all, much less one that suggests a late-run Simpsons parody? Have the success of War Horse and Thorne’s own Harry Potter and the Cursed Child—and the bellyflops of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and Cirque du Soleil’s Paramour—taught us nothing? King Kong looks down on its huckster villain, film director Carl (Eric William Morris, overplaying an unplayable role), for taking an awesome creature and surrounding it with mediocrity for a gawking New York audience—but that’s exactly what this production does itself. In the sad eyes of the second act’s chained and stooped Kong, you see flickers of a show that might have been.

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