King Kong Musical Departs Australia and Looks For Next Venue
He’s Big. He’s Bad. And for right now, he’s taking a break. King Kong on Stage seems to have redefined theatre for those down under after the production came to a close after years in the making down under this past weekend. What originally began as a limited engagement production turned into an extended run, times four, that brought visitors from around the continent and globe to marvel at the world’s eighth wonder. King Kong returned to life in this brand new musical and is looking to live on in future productions around the world. But what has he accomplished so far? How much more does he have to prove? We’ll take a look at that and much more today in this breakdown of King Kong on Stage and the future of this new production. Today, Luner on Theatre brings you the sad news that King Kong on Stage has closed in Australia but is now actively seeking its new home on stage!
293 curtains later, the brand new mega musical King Kong on Stage has come to an end in Australia. The production officially closed on February 16th, 2014 after extending 4 times in its world premiere production. King Kong on Stage began it’s run at The Regent Theatre in Melbourne on May 28th, 2013. The show officially opened to audiences June 15th, 2013. Since 2013, over 12o,000 people have experienced Kong on stage with 26 percent of those sales coming from interstate or overseas visitors.
King Kong on Stage also brought to light some serious numbers in a recent poll it took among ticket holders. In a survey of 50,000 ticket holders, King Kong on Stage found that 25 percent of its audience had not been to the theatre in over a year. Even more staggering than that is 35 percent of ticket holders for King Kong on Stage were males. This is compared to the usual 17 percent with musicals in the industry.
The CEO of Global Creatures, Carmen Pavlovic expressed gratitude to Australian audiences and theater goers alike for the incredible experience.
“We have been humbled by the way audiences have embraced King Kong and the success of the global premiere season is testament to Australia’s ability to create locally and to play globally. Like the Dinosaurs and Dragons before him, Kong is set to take on the world and we look forward to being able to confirm our northern hemisphere season in the near future. However our immediate focus is on making sure every performance in the final 13 weeks of our Australian season continues to leave people amazed.”
King Kong on Stage was nominated for 9 Helpmann Awards including Best New Australian Work. The production took home 5 awards including Best Lighting, Best Sound, Best Scenic Design, Best Costume Design and Outstanding Theatrical Achievement. The award for Outstanding Theatrical Achievement was created by the Industry Awards Panel and Helpmann Awards Administration Committee solely for the design and execution of the King Kong creature. They referred to the puppet in a statement as “a ground breaking Australian creation, the first of its kind in the world and worthy of individual recognition.”
Bill Harris, the executive producer for King Kong on Stage also took the chance to thank audiences, cast and crew alike for the incredible chance to work on such a production.
“It’s been immensely gratifying to welcome people to King Kong that may not normally buy a ticket to a theatre show. I think you only need to look at the incredible composer line up involved with King Kong including 3D from Massive Attack, The Avalanches, Sarah McLachlan and Justice, to understand why the show appeals to a music-loving audience. Then you have a younger audience accustomed to high-end visual and sound design used in pop concerts attracted to King Kong’s spectacular production values. Of course we’re incredibly grateful to our core music theatre-loving audience who appreciate how special it is to have a locally made production that will end up on Broadway.”
Puppeteer Lincoln Barros spoke to the press regarding his experience as one of the man men who control Kong’s movements.
“Nothing can prepare you for the first time Kong appears on stage. I never get tired of seeing the mix of awe and wonder in the audiences’ face at that moment. They are truly transported into Kong’s world and it’s that kind of magic which makes it such a privilege to be part of this global premiere production.”
King Kong on Stage is expected to transfer to Broadway later this season. Word broke within the past month that the production planned to transfer to The Foxwoods Theatre on 42nd Street once Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark has finished restoring the theatre to its original state. The show is so specific with its technical requirements, only several Broadway houses are capable of holding the production. The show is expected to be reworked and a second puppet is already in the works. The show might begin previews as early as December 2014 in New York City. Click here to read the full Luner on Theatre article about King Kong’s transfer to Broadway. New York is not the only home King Kong on Stage is currently looking into. Several other cities and nations world-wide are in talks to host the giant in a theatrical staging of their own. such as London, Seoul, Japan, Germany and Holland.
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.
King Kong on Stage might have ended it’s run in Australia but that does not mean the life of this production is over! We are expecting to see King Kong appear in several new nations soon and even on Broadway! We will keep an eye out for this and be sure to keep you updated as to where the world’s largest puppet is headed next! 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!