Spider-Man is out and Rocky is in!
However, the similarities between these two shows are many!
We saw Spider-Man and we really enjoyed it. We enjoyed it so much that we saw it a second time.
We just saw the new musical based on the iconic Sylvester Stallone movie and we really enjoyed it. We enjoyed it so much we would see it a second time too!
And, just like Spider-Man, Rocky on Broadway features dazzling production and an underwhelming songs from an iconic musical act.
U2 lent their talent to the average score for Spidey and iconic songwriting duo Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Seussical, Once On This Island and more) are responsible for Rocky's just fine songs. Not bad. Not great.
There's no Let It Go here!
In fact, the best song in the show is the only one from the '80s film used, Eye Of The Tiger.
When that one cover is leaps and bounds better than the original songs, you know your musical is not the strongest musical.
But it doesn't need to be!
Like we said, the songs aren't bad. Just many feel generic and uninspired. And there's not enough variety and fun - at least not till later on in the show. When Apollo Creed joins Rocky in the ring for the big match and he busts out some Sugar Hill Gang flavor, that was some much needed spice that should have been sprinkled THROUGHOUT the show!
Overall, the score is too consistently serious and lacking fun.
However, every single visual element is more than fun! It is FABULOUS! It is breathtaking! It is innovative!
The scenic design by Christopher Barreca is straight-up GENIUS! It was so fresh! So grand! The scale of the show is huge! Giganctic flying sets! Such a 360 use of the space - literally!
For the big match, the first few rows are taken out of their seats and escorted up on the stage as the boxing ring moves out and over the audience!
Thrilling! And the energy for that finale is THROUGH THE ROOF!
The video design by Dan Scully and Pablo N. Molina was also so inspired and with such attention to detail!
Christopher Akerlind's lighting added so much to the show!
The choreography by Steven Hoggett and Kelly Devine- especially the stage fighting - was epic!!!!! The actors were SO CONVINCING in the ring! And that is not an easy task to pull off in the theater!
Major kudos and credit to director Alex Timbers for his vision and executing all these elements so flawlessly!
Ticketbuyers are definitely getting their money's worth with Rocky. Big show! Big production! And a BIG cast, lead by Andy Karl in the title role.
It is all but assured that Karl's FANTASTIC performance will ensure him a Tony nomination, and it will be hard to find another actor more deserving of that win!
We last saw Andy in the comedy The Mystery Of Edwin Drood on Broadway, so it was really revelatory to see him do something soooo different.
He sang beautifully. He acted beautifully! And he became the champion necessary to play this part! He's trained, transformed his body and gives audiences his all!
As for his Adrian, Margo Seibert did a super job with the acting. She's known mainly for her television work (Boardwalk Empire). And while she's a very capable singer, we just left wanting MORE vocally - range and tone - from her.
The rest of the cast does a fine job. But it's really all about Andy Karl.