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A Review on Rocky the Musical: A show that goes the distance!

Caroline Mack, Reporter

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On March 8th, 2014 I took my seat- third row mezzanine- in the Winter Garden Theatre to watch a new musical take the Broadway stage. The musical was Rocky the Musical, which is based on the 1976 film.

I wasn’t expecting much. A movie being made into a musical is quite common, and most of the time those kind of shows are nothing to get excited about. However, I left the Winter Garden Theatre with satisfaction; I had underestimated Rocky.

Rocky the Musical stays true to the film Rocky, which follows Rocky Balboa: a struggling small time Philadelphia boxer who is given the opportunity to fight against the heavyweight champion Apollo Creed. Rocky the Musical’s book was written by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, and Thomas Meehan wrote the lyrics and music.

Overall, the show was very good. Act two was significantly stronger than act one. In act two the actors’ performances were much better. Additionally, the songs in the second act were stronger and the plot evolved into a much more exciting story. Act two included famous scenes from the movie and the legendary fight between Rocky and Apollo.

The show had an excellent cast. Individually and as an ensemble they were very strong. The cast stars Andy Karl (Wicked, Jersey Boys, 9 to 5 & Legally Blonde) as Rocky Balboa, Margo Seibert as Adrian, Terance Archie (Ragtime) as Apollo Creed, Dankin Mathews (The Best Man, A Man for All Seasons & Henry IV) as Mickey, Danny Mastrogiorgio (Lucky Guy & Golden Boy) as Paulie, and Jennifer Mudge as Gloria. The cast was extremely powerful. Andy Karl not only had a lovely voice, but also managed to make Rocky Balboa even more lovable. Margo Seibert was a powerhouse. This is Seibert’s Broadway debut, but she has such an excellent stage presence—you couldn’t tell it was her first time on a B’way stage! Terance Archie originated the role of Apollo Creed in Rocky Das Musical in Hamburg, Germany.

Not only was the performance throughout the entire show pretty solid, but the technical aspect was also incredible! The show included live filming of the fight and interviews that were screened on several TV screens which came down over the stage. The boxing ring moved up, down, side to side and, for the final fight, over the audience. The set was intricate and beautiful, but at times very distracting. For the final fight scene the first several rows got to go on stage to watch the fight. They were sitting in “Golden Circle Seating.” I tried buying Golden Circle tickets but they were sold out until June! The technical aspect of the show was really what made it so unique to Broadway and is what, I believe, will keep the show’s popularity up.

At first I thought the idea of turning the film Rocky into a musical was strange and would not serve as a good Broadway show; however I was proven wrong. The writing, acting, singing and tech were so good that I would recommend seeing it. Even though tickets are on the pricier side, it’s a heck of a show and you’ll certainly get your money’s worth.

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