Sylvester Stallone was just a little-known actor from New York City taking small parts in minor films and headlining porno flicks when Rocky, the boxing drama he wrote and starred in, was released in late 1976. The movie went on to gross over $200 million worldwide, was nominated for ten Academy Awards, and went home with three. Although Stallone didn’t receive any awards recognition for his acting or writing, the movie made him a star and, after more than three decades, remains a global box office attraction. Rocky also became one of the biggest film franchises in the world, spawning five sequels of varying quality and success and influencing generations of moviegoers, future filmmakers, and aspiring boxers. Now, it’s becoming a musical.
Yes friends, according to THR, Rocky is coming back to life as an honest-to-God song and dance extravaganza, and fittingly the man who started it all is at the helm of this endeavor. Stallone will be producing the $15 million Rocky musical along with world champion boxing brothers Wladimir Klitschko and Vitali Klitschko and Kevin King Templeton of Stalloneâ€™s production company Rouge Marble. Thomas Meehan (The Producers) will write the book for the musical, Tony-award winning lyricist Lynn Ahrens and composer Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime) will collaborate on the music, and Tony-winner Alex Timbers (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) will direct the production. Several songs from the Rocky films including Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” and Bill Conti’s iconic main title tune “Gonna Fly Now” will be included in the production. The lead role of fledgling boxer Rocky Balboa hasn’t been cast yet, but the Klitschko brothers will train the actor chosen in the pugilistic arts.
According to Stallone the musical will concentrate more on the softer side of the Italian Stallion. “At the end of the day, Rocky is a love story and he could never have reached the final bell without Adrian,â€ the Expendables star said today at a press conference in Hamburg, Germany. â€œTo see this story coming to life on a musical stage makes me proud. And it would make Rocky proud.”
Rocky: The Musical is set to debut in Hamburg in November 2012 and an English language version will tour stages around the world soon after.