'Rocky: The Musical' is so much closer to becoming a reality than you have ever imagined


Image Credit: Everett Collection

In the first half of the 2000s, Sylvester Stallone was stuck in a hell of direct-to-video action films. By 2006, his last two major roles had been a jokey role in the deathly Spy Kids 3 and a guest-starring turn on the gleefully inessential Las Vegas. At the lowest ebb of his career, Stallone returned to the franchise that initially propelled him to ’80s mega-fame. The result was Rocky Balboa, a surprisingly not-bad sixquel that worked as an eerily accurate Stallone autobiography. The film was an unexpected hit, grossing $150 million worldwide, and the star smartly doubled down on his own nostalgia cult with a Rambo sequel and last summer’s The Expendables, which was essentially a reboot of the entire ’80s action genre. How much of a moment is Stallone having? According to a report in the New York Times, Rocky is on its way to becoming a freaking musical — with a hoped-for 2013 Broadway opening.

EW has confirmed that Thomas Meehan (Annie, The Producers, Hairspray) is writing the book for Rocky, with the Tony-winning team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty writing the music. The plan is currently for a 2012 debut in Germany — the lead producer is Amsterdam-based European company Stage Entertainment — with hopes to bring Rocky: The Musical to Broadway in 2013.

Now, first of all, this news is totally bananas. The mere notion of a Rocky musical was something people used to chortle about back in the ’80s, pop culture was so young and innocent and America had not yet moved into a post-modern state meta-existence. So let’s get the requisite “Good god, why is everything a remake of everything else” grumbling out of the way. [Grumbles loudly]. Now, let’s recall: in this modern moment of mythology-heavy franchises that spin backwards and sideways into prequels and spin-offs, there is something admirably simple about the Rocky series: A dude has to fight another dude, and he trains while listening to awesome music. That is not by a long shot the stupidest idea for a musical ever.

PopWatchers, what would you like to see in Rocky: The Musical? Are you excited for the dance-fighting? Am I the only one who secretly hopes Julie Taymor rolls in her crazy train of wonder and turns this into a meditation on the meaning of hope? And how can we convince the producers to just skip ahead and adapt Rocky IV instead?

Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich

Read more:
Can ‘The Fighter’ beat communism? PopWatch Rewind looks back at ‘Rocky IV’
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Comments (8 total) Add your comment
  • Obvious Man Says

    Yo Adrian!!!!!
    I have to fight this fight
    It’s the fight of my life
    I’ve never been thought much of
    Until this fight was thought of
    And now I must go the distance
    Or lose all my resistance
    In the fight of my life! (and toekick)

  • Daniel

    Anything Rocky sounds good to me!!

  • Tracy Murray

    What’s next for the Broadway stage ? Saw ? Inception ? Or maybe David Mamet doing a dramatic reinterpretation of Glee twenty years from now ?

    • PJ

      Musicals have come from movies for a long time now. This isn’t anything new.

  • forkuu

    you knew this was coming it was only a matter of time…
    mr stallone will squeeze the juice out of his rocky idea till nothing is left…

  • KL

    I blame Frank Stallone.

  • musicals for primary school children

    Seriously can’t wait!

  • Cisco Wireless

    Hello there, You have done an incredible job. I’ll certainly digg it and for my part recommend to my friends. I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this web site.

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