King Kong Musical Headed for Broadway
He’s big. He’s back. And this time, he’s headed for New York City. While the most iconic and well know image of King Kong may be atop the Empire State Building in New York City, he may very soon be taking up residence not far from the iconic New York landmark. King Kong on Stage is a brand new musical that debuted last year in Australia and brings to life musical theatre with the largest puppet created ever. While King Kong has been dominating Australia for the past few months, it seems as though he has set his sights on the iconic Empire State Building and planning a return to New York City in 2014. Today, Luner on Theatre brings you the exciting news that the brand new King Kong musical is headed for Broadway!
King Kong on Stage is a musical that features a book by Craig Lucas who also contributed lyrics for the production. Composer and arranger Marius de Vries, created a score that features revamped versions of 1930s Broadway classics like “Get Happy,” “I Wanna Be Loved By You” and “Brother Can You Spare a Dime”. He then worked to create new and existing songs from contemporary artists. Some of these artists include Robert Del Naja, Sarah McLachlan, Justice, Guy Garvey and The Avalanches. Stephen Pavlovic from Modular People has also worked as a musical collaborator with Michael Mitnick contributing lyrics to several new compositions. While countless remarks have been made, the story of King Kong follows the story line of the original film by Merian C. Cooper and Edgar Wallace.
Word broke yesterday from one of the producers that King Kong on Stage is headed for Broadway in 2014. Gerry Ryan of Global Creatures, one of the production’s producers, said the following during a radio interview with the Australian Radio Station 3AW;
“I was in New York recently and went to the theatre, and so, they’re getting ready — Spider-Man’s closed there at the Foxwoods and we’ll be opening on December 12 this year.”
While no official statement has come from Global Creatures, what we do know is this. Carmen Pavlovic, an executive from Global Creatures, and members of the King Kong creative team were in New York in late 2013. On their trip, they scouted out Broadway houses that would be capable of housing the large production. They noted only four or five houses in New York would be large enough to accommodate the high demanding technical elements the production requires. This includes the six meter tall puppet, who is the star of the show. We know for a fact that The Foxwoods Theatre and The Broadway Theatre are two suitable venues for the production. As for the other Broadway houses scouted, we cannot confirm any names at this time. Pavlovic also told The New York Times a while back that she anticipated a second production of King Kong on Stage to launch in 2014. As to the exact location, she did not reveal.
Gerry Ryan also mentioned in his radio interview that the creative team was reworking the musical for New York audiences. What does that exactly mean? Only time will be able to tell.
King Kong on Stage‘s world premiere took place in Australia in 2013. the show began previews May 28th, 2013 and was only selling tickets through July at the beginning of the run. Since than, the show has extended multiple times and is set to wrap up it’s run in Australia in mid February 2014. The show has been running at The Regent Theatre in Melbourne and includes a cast of 49 and a crew of 76 people. Luner on Theatre covered King Kong’s world premiere in Australia!
Currently at this time, all Australian creative team members are still on board for a future Broadway bow of the show. Leading the entire production is director Daniel Kramer who has been working on Kong for the past few years. The show will also feature choreography byJohn O’Connell. The rest creative team also includes production designer Peter England, creature designerSonny Tilders, Tony Award-winner Roger Kirk as costume designer, Peter Mumford as lighting designer, Grammy, Tony and Olivier Award-nominee Peter Hylenski as sound designer. The show also features an expanded creative team including Green Room Award-winner Frieder Weiss as projection designer, Gavin Robins as aerial and circus director and Peter Wilson as puppetry director.
The puppet used in King Kong is truly one of a kind. It is the largest puppet ever created on earth for anything. That being said, there are only several Broadway theatres that are capable of housing this puppet and all of the other technical requirements Kong asks for. The word is currently that the creative team is already working on a second animatronic puppet for future engagements of the production. We can assume this one will either be exactly the same to allow for multiple productions of King Kong on Stage to run at once or it will be smaller and just as efficient as the current one is.
While New York remains unconfirmed for 2014, Carmen Pavlovic also mentioned they hope to launch a third production of King Kong on Stage in 2015. Pavlovic mentioned markets in London, Seoul, Japan, Germany and Holland as other potential countries were King Kong may hit the stage.
WOW! How truly exciting! We have been following King Kong and it’s run in Australia for quite some time now and this news is something that really excites us. King Kong on Stage looks to be a promising musical filled with technical elements that will leave audiences flabbergasted. The puppet itself is a marvel of technology and theatricality put together. The real question is; Can the puppet win a Tony? Anyways, I am very excited for King Kong to come to New York and receive some reworking before it does so. I also believe The Foxwoods Theatre is the best possible choice for a production this size. While The Foxwoods is a barn of Broadway, it would be fitting not only for the production’s technical requirements but also for the audiences and spectacle King Kong promises to be. The largest puppet ever created in a King Kong musical on 42nd street? It doesn’t get much more New York than that. I look forward to King Kong making its way to New York. It looks to be a groundbreaking piece of theatre that can remind us all of the success we have when mixing theatre and technology just to the right amount.
King Kong on Stage must end it’s run in Melbourne on February 16th, 2014! If you just so happen to be down under, don’t miss the chance to see this larger than life new musical on stage! If you’re nowhere near Australia, have no fear! It seems as though King Kong may be coming to a city near you soon. For more information, visit King Kong on Stage’s Official Website. Be sure to check Luner on Theatre on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter as well! We are constantly updating these pages with information! And of course, check out the rest of Luner on Theatre for all your theatre news you don’t only need but want to know!