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Rocky on Broadway is a technical knockout (review) March 20, 2014

Posted by ronannarbor in Uncategorized.

You will go home whistling the sets after Rocky the musical. What you won’t go home whistling is any of the tunes. That’s not to say you won’t like the show. In fact, I loved it.

Rocky (a beefed-up excellent Andy Karl) and Adrian (superb Margo Seibert) play out their South Philadelphia love story with the requisite emotion and they both have charisma to spare. Adrian is given the evening’s only memorable songs (the ballad “Raining” and the angry-song ‘I’m Done”), though she and Rocky together have a half-song “Happiness” which barely begins and by the time it reaches its lyrical core is already over. Its underscored numerous times with “Eye of the Tiger” and the “Rocky theme” from the first two movies. Otherwise, Ahrens and Flaherty have written what is their weakest score, and its a shame.

What makes this show a real knockout is Christopher Barreca’s scenic design — I’ll go on the record here to say that it is the best set I have ever seen in a broadway musical — and its matched scene for scene by Christopher Akerlind’s excellent lighting design.

Set pieces slide, glide, lift, rotate, stack, flip. Video is integrated on large moving panels both on stage and above the audience. And you’ve probably heard about the last 20 minutes, where the premium seating patrons are moved on stage and the boxing ring slides out into the audience — no matter what your thoughts might be on the musical overall, the last 20 minutes of this show are a tour-de-force of theater — and the audience was on its feet cheering the fight long before they were urged to stand up by the cast…Video screens with rink lighting lower from the ceiling, and the atmosphere is one of a real fight. Its exciting and electric theater.

The Winter Garden Theatre has a new longtime client — and dare I say this is the show that will be the male equivalent of “Wicked” — I fully envision cool dad’s bringing their sons to the show for an evening of bonding for years to come (okay, mom will get stuck buying the tickets, and I guarantee she won’t be bored, while maybe not understanding why dad and son are so much more enthused than she is about the entire affair).


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