Hopes ‘Rocky’ musical will pack a punch

It has been a knockout in Germany, and now Sylvester Stallone hopes a musical based on his beloved boxing film Rocky will also be a hit on Broadway.

Producers said they plan to get Rocky up and punching at the Winter Garden Theatre by February, following a successful debut in Hamburg last autumn.

Based on the Oscar- winning 1976 film, the musical features a score by Ragtime veterans Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, and a story by Thomas Meehan, who wrote The Producers and Hairspray.

Originally written in English but translated into German for its world premiere and billed as Rocky: Das Musical, the show is produced by Stallone and Stage Entertainment USA.

“The reason I think it has worked so well there, and why I think it’ll work on Broadway, is that, yes, it’s a story about boxing, but the real story is actually an intimate, powerful, and gritty and moving love story between two people who are both lonely and in a difficult place in their worlds,” said Bill Taylor, managing director of Stage Entertainment USA. “They sort of rescue each other. It’s very uplifting.”

The musical stays close to the film, which charted the rise and romance of amateur boxer and debt collector Rocky Balboa, played in Germany by Drew Sarich. No casting has been decided for New York.

In the story, Balboa gets his shot against undefeated heavyweight champion Apollo Creed, played in the film by Carl Weathers.

He also woos a love interest, Adrianna “Adrian” Pennino. Stallone wrote the screenplay and it won the best picture Oscar in 1976.

The film made famous the image of Balboa running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the quote: “Yo, Adrian!”

The German production kept the trumpet-laden theme Gonna Fly Now and the anthem Eye of the Tiger, written for Rocky III. Both will also be in the Broadway version.

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