King Kong Musical Revamped As Original Creative Team Departs
Kong has returned! It’s musical theatre like you have never seen. King Kong on stage made it’s world premiere in Australia in 2013 and made headlines. Using technology never before seen on the stage, the production has brought to life the largest puppet in the world that is so incredibly life-like, it’s scary. The larger than life show ran to an acclaimed run in Melbourne extending multiple times. Now, Kong wants to head home to New York. While physical boundaries obviously stand in the way of such an easy transfer for Kong, many other factors are now influencing the king before he is set to make his U.S. premiere and Broadway debut. Today, Luner on Theatre brings you the exciting news that King Kong the musical is being revamped ahead of its U.S. premiere and several of the its original creative team have departed the production!
U.S. representatives for King Kong confirmed this week that the original production was receiving extensive creative changes before making it plans to make its U.S. premiere. Due to such changes being made, the production’s original director Daniel Kramer and librettist Craig Lucas have departed the project. The producer of King Kong cited “creative differences” as the reason why. U.S. representatives for the production confirmed that Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright-librettist Marsha Norman (The Secret Garden, The Bridges of Madison County, ‘Night Mother) (Pictured Right) has now joined the team and is set to re-write the book for the musical. Currently, the production is seeking a new director and discussions are already underway with several who are interested in taking over the project.
Producer Carmen Pavlovic of Global Creatures said in a statement;
“Once the new team is in place an assessment will be made on a North American production timeline. We will continue to develop the show to ensure the best possible experience for Broadway audiences.”
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 ened it’s run in February 2014. The show ran at The Regent Theatre in Melbourne and included a cast of 49 and a crew of 76 people. It was announced the musical was interested in a Broadway bow and would more than likely appear in New York sometime during 2014. Executives, including Carmen Pavlovic, came to New York to scout out which Broadway Theaters would be able to hold a production the size of King Kong. According to Pavlovic, only four or five houses met the criteria. Luner on Theatre could only confirm The Broadway Theatre and The Lyric Theatre as potential venues for King Kong.
King Kong‘s producers have been circling Broadway for several months. It was almost final that the production would move into the newly renamed Lyric Theatre on 42nd Street following the closing of Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark. However, at the 11th hour, it was announced the musical would revamp itself entirely before it’s U.S. premiere and a revival of On The Town would take The Lyric instead. We also know for a fact, from a close source at the theater, that King Kong was interested in having another show bow at The Lyric before they did incase the production ran into technical difficulties during its Broadway debit avoiding chat about a plagued production in a house that was home to the biggest technical disaster on Broadway.
Following the announcement last week that Rodger & Hammerstein’s Cinderella on Broadway would close, word surfaced King Kong may actually head into The Broadway Theatre following the bow of another production that has yet to be announced. While there has been no official confirmation yet, we can confirm that the house would be able to hold the size of King Kong. However, there is a potential musical headed there this spring and the newly remounted Miss Saigon revival in London would hands down love to have the theatre if it returned to Broadway taking over its original home. It looks as though Kong may not make it to New York until the 2015-16 season Broadway earliest.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I can absolutely not wait for this production to come to New York. King Kong got mixed reviews in Australia and since has decided it would need to revamp itself for Broadway before heading into the land of critics reviewing shows before they have even officially bowed. I applaud this move. The score for King Kong was a little bit more old-fashioned which may work for this production but did not do so well for the recent new musical Bullets Over Broadway which closed just two weeks ago after only several months in New York. However, Kong has spectacular production value which can only be seen where this production is happening. However, that technical splash in the background can only take a show so far. I’m thrilled to hear Marsha Norman has joined the project and is set to rework the piece as a whole. I’ll look forward to seeing which director takes on this mega-musical. So far, Joe Mantello, Alex Timbers and Sam Gold have all passed. It will also be interesting for Kong to place itself at the Broadway as opposed to The Lyric. The Broadway holds 1,761 while The Lyric holds 1,930. That is about 200 less seats producers have to worry about selling every night. And despite all this, let’s not forget King Kong only premiered in 2013. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: MUSICALS. TAKE. TIME. Give this production the time it needs and no doubt, it will make history when it arrives on Broadway. I’m also interested in seeing what the total cost for all this will be. Although, I have no doubt it will not be anywhere near the $75 million dollar Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, I would have to guess this could cost $25-30 million on Broadway.
Luner on Theatre will continue to keep you updated on the latest news about King Kong and its potential bow on a Broadway stage sometime soon. We have no doubt that this monster production will eventually make its way to New York. However, the time it will take, creative team it will require and the money it will cost is all something that has yet to be determined. For more information, visit King Kong’s Official Website. 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 and so much more!