For all those who consider themselves fans of Rocky (and I’m talking true fans of Rocky), you may wish to avert your eyes. Continuing to read may result in a sigh, a slow and deliberate shaking of your head, a face-palm or a combination of all three.
Rocky The Musical is coming to Broadway.
No worries, Rocky fans, I’m one of you. You won’t find any “I can’t wait to see it” sentiment in the following paragraphs. Just the opposite, in fact. This crap needs to stop. It’s almost as annoying as Hollywood and its constant remaking of classic films.
Movies like Rocky should never become musicals, just as musicals such as RENT and Rock of Ages should never become movies. Did you see the movie RENT? How about Rock of Ages? Exactly. And now we have to endure a musical version about the world’s most famous aspiring boxer? Is it not hard enough to buy into fake boxing in movies? And seeing it on stage is going to make it more realistic and believable?
Yeah, I know. Rocky the Musical will be a hit. In fact, it’s already a hit. That’s why it’s coming to Broadway. It has been workshopped, worked over, staged and it debuted in Germany to general praise. After all, Sylvester Stallone is behind it and he’s thrilled to be a driving force. It’ll make millions upon millions and people will flock to see it. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
At its best, it’s a watered-down, melodramatic, sing-song version of the low budget cine-magic that John G. Avildsen captured during the disco era. At its worst, it sets a precedent of bringing a new genre of classics to the stage. What’s next? 2001: A Space Odyssey: The Musical? I can imagine every young musical theater performer auditioning with the hit song, “Open the Pod Bay Doors.”
Ah, when profit trumps originality and artistic integrity.