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'Rocky' musical to get knocked off Broadway in August

It looks like Rocky is out for the count.

The musical adaptation of the 1976 Sylvester Stallone film will close on Broadway on August 17 after only 28 previews and 188 regular performances at the Winter Garden Theatre. Though the show was able to perform at last month’s Tony Awards, taking home a prize for scenic design, a lack of best musical nomination and lukewarm reviews resulted in a dwindling box office for the show.

Stallone had adapted his own screenplay with Thomas Meehan (Annie) in writing the book for the musical, with Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime) penning the score. After a world premiere in 2012 in Hamburg, Germany, the show opened on Broadway in March with Andy Karl starring in the title role as Philly boxer Rocky Balboa.

Firsts & Worsts: Andy Karl on meeting Stallone and the 'Rocky' fan who hates him

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Every actor has to start somewhere — and when it comes to theater performers, their roots are often similar, right down to the roles they cut their teeth on or the songs they first used at an audition.

Rocky star Andy Karl has roamed the Broadway musical boards for years, from playing the sexy UPS guy in Legally Blonde to Wicked‘s Fiyero and Jersey Boys‘ Tommy DeVito. It’s only natural, then, that Karl becomes the second star in Entertainment Weekly’s Firsts & Worsts series, which charts the early theater stories of some of your favorite stage actors. (Lady Day‘s Audra McDonald kicked things off last week.) READ FULL STORY

Chris O'Dowd, Audra McDonald and more Tony nominees share weird warm-ups, campaign slogans -- VIDEO

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The month of campaigning for the 2014 Tony Awards is well underway, and that’s why you’ll see this year’s crop of nominees—from Bryan Cranston and Chris O’Dowd, to Audra McDonald and Idina Menzel—popping up all over the place as they remind you just why they all deserve to take home Broadway’s top honor this year at the Hugh Jackman-hosted ceremony on June 8.

The day after the nominations were announced, EW sat down with a slew of this year’s nominated performers (some first-timers, some veterans, all excited) to chat about their quirky backstage rituals necessary for warming up for the show. And since this is awards season after all, we also asked them to come up with a campaign tagline that sums up their Tony race.

Check back at EW.com all month long for a deeper dive into this year’s nominees, as well as interviews and analysis from our stage team. Let the Tony race commence! READ FULL STORY

Broadway's 'Rocky': Go behind the scenes of the climactic fight scene -- EXCLUSIVE

Much like the pugilist champ at its center, Rocky is proving a power player on Broadway. Its numbers keep going up, and more and more people are becoming ringside fans of the Philly palooka Rocky Balboa (Andy Karl) and his shy, pet-store employee girlfriend-in-waiting Adrian (Margo Seibert) all over again, after the great successes of Sylvester Stallone and company in the Oscar-winning 1976 movie. (Stallone is a book writer on this show, and could very likely be a Tony nominee this coming Tuesday, along with several others involved.)

But the ringside mention earlier is nothing short of completely literal, as director Alex Timbers (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) and scenic designer Christopher Barreca devised a regulation-size boxing ring for the 15-minute, climactic bout between Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed (Terence Archie), in which a sizable portion of the orchestra patrons are (quite ingeniously) repurposed so that the ring may become a four-sided, true-to-life event for the audience. What results is one of the most eye-popping bits of stagecraft ever created, with no shortage of fun details (check out all that blood!).

In the exclusive three-minute feature below, watch as director Timbers and his fearless cast and crew explain how they went about making what seemed impossible in concept to a fully-realized reality for 1,500 attendees per evening. (And they managed to do it with far less event than another recent mega-musical, as well.) READ FULL STORY

Broadway Box Office: 'Bronx Bombers' is striking out with audiences, while Shakespeare hits a grand slam

Broadway’s New York Yankees love-fest Bronx Bombers, starring Peter Scolari as Yogi Berra, isn’t exactly pulling major-league numbers at the box office. In the first full week since its Feb. 6 opening, the new drama took in a measly $177,559, according to figures released by The Broadway League. That’s less than a quarter of the potential gross at Circle in the Square (one of Broadway’s smallest theaters) — and does not bode well for its future.

The biggest surprise this winter has been the season’s unlikeliest but very palpable hit(s): the Mark Rylance-led productions of Twelfth Night and Richard III playing in repertory (and breaking house sales records) at the Belasco. For the week ending Feb. 16, the shows grossed a remarkable $944,755 — a tally that exceeds all of the season’s new musicals. The takings have topped the potential gross for the Broadhurst for the third straight week, suggesting that producers have been able to goose their earnings by selling ever more premium tickets at $247 a pop. READ FULL STORY

Meet the stars of Broadway's new 'Rocky' musical -- EXCLUSIVE

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Yo, Adrian! We got an exclusive! Meet the leading actors taking center stage (or should it be ring?) in the upcoming Broadway premiere of the new Lynn Ahrens/Stephen Flaherty/Thomas Meehan musicalization of the feel-good Oscar winner Rocky, which made Sylvester Stallone a megastar. Andy Karl, fresh off a choice supporting role in The Mystery of Edwin Drood last season, takes on moviedom’s favorite meat-punchin’, Philadelphia Museum of Art step-runnin’ turtle lover, and newcomer Margo Seibert will play Mr. Balboa’s painfully shy love interest, Adrian. The production is directed by wunderkind Alex Timbers (fresh off EW’s New Hollywood list), so expect some flights of fancy near your ringside seats, on a regulation-size boxing arena, no less. And given that the combined past credits for the creators of this musical include The Producers, Hairspray, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Ragtime, and Here Lies Love, it looks to be one of the knockouts of the 2013-14 theater season to be sure.

Rocky will begin previews at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway on Feb. 11. For information on tickets, visit the show’s official website.
READ FULL STORY

'Rocky' joins list of musicals based on famous movies. Good idea?

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You know what Broadway isn’t missing? Another musical based on a movie.

But it seems, asked for or not, the Great White Way will be getting yet another show based originally on a hit movie. Over the weekend, news broke that plans were in the works to adapt Rocky, based on the 1976 Sylvester Stallone-starring boxer classic. The cast hasn’t been announced, but the show had a well-received world premiere last fall in Germany (hopefully containing a dance at some point in the show to “Eye of the Tiger”). Some may remain skeptical, but the creative team, particularly director Alex Timbers (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Peter and the Starcatcher), is promising and known for bringing an offbeat sensibility to the material (Exhibit A: this preview video from Jackson). READ FULL STORY

'Rocky' musical headed to Broadway in February 2014

When Talia Shire’s Adrian asked her boxer beau why he fought in 1976’s Rocky, Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa memorably replied, “Because I can’t sing or dance.” Well, now he can.

Producers today confirmed plans to bring a big-budget musical version of the Oscar-winning movie to Broadway in 2014. The show, conceived by Stallone himself (who earned an Oscar nomination for the screenplay in addition to starring in the film and five sequels), had a well-received world premiere last fall in Hamburg, Germany. READ FULL STORY

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