Rocky Balboa may be headed to Broadway in a new musical adaptation of the beloved Sylvester Stallone film. After a recent reading of the show, starring Andy Karl (Legally Blonde, Wicked) in the title role and Lisa Brescia (Mamma Mia!) as his true love Adrian, the show is eyeing a November 2012 premiere in Germany and a Broadway mounting in the spring of 2013, according to The New York Times.
Rocky has been in development as a musical for eight years, since Stallone approached Thomas Meehan, the Tony-winning librettist of musicals such as The Producers, Elf, Hairspray and Annie, about transforming his 1976 Best Picture winner into a Broadway show. (Stallone, who wrote the screenplay, holds the rights and will be listed as a producer of the musical.) The team of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (Ragtime) signed on to compose the score. After the reading, Karl wrote on his official website, “April 22, 2011: Andy plays the title role in a new musical reading of Rocky. Sly Stallone approves.”
Meehan described the challenges of the new show to the Times, saying, “There was some worry early on—could we really make a musical out of a boxing picture? Could you make Rocky sing and dance?...But then I looked at the film. I thought it had beautiful construction and such high emotion, and it was a natural musical: There is a David and Goliath story, a Cinderella story, a love story between two outcasts. It’s less about boxing than about finding self-respect and finding your soul mate.”
Stage Entertainment, a European theatrical producer now represented on Broadway by Sister Act, is reportedly the lead producer of Rocky.