Winter Garden Theatre, (3/13/2014 - 8/17/2014)

First Preview: Feb 13, 2014
Opening Date: Mar 13, 2014
Closing Date: Aug 17, 2014
Total Previews: 28
Total Performances: 180

Category: Musical, Drama, Original, Broadway
Setting: Philadelphia. 1975.

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Shubert Organization (Philip J. Smith: Chairman; Robert E. Wankel: President)

Produced by Stage Entertainment USA, Inc., Sylvester Stallone, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, The Shubert Organization (Philip J. Smith: Chairman; Robert E. Wankel: President), Kevin King-Templeton, James L. Nederlander & Terry Allen Kramer, Roy Furman, Cheryl Wiesenfeld, Zane Tankel, Lucky Champions, Scott Delman, JFL Theatricals/Judith Ann Abrams, Latitude Link, Waxman/Shin/Bergère, Lauren Stevens/Josh Goodman, Joop Van Den Ende and Bill Taylor; Associate Producer: Barbara Darwall and Michael Hildebrandt

Book by Thomas Meehan and Sylvester Stallone; Music by Stephen Flaherty; Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens; Based on the Motion Picture by MGM and United Artists; Music orchestrated by Stephen Trask and Doug Besterman; Musical Director: Chris Fenwick; Vocal arrangements by Stephen Flaherty; Additional Music Arrangements: Stephen Flaherty

Directed by Alex Timbers; Choreographed by Steven Hoggett and Kelly Devine; Associate Director: Ian Unterman; Associate Choreographer: Marcos Santana

Scenic Design by Christopher Barreca; Costume Design by David Zinn; Lighting Design by Christopher Akerlind; Sound Design by Peter Hylenski; Video Design by Dan Scully and Pablo N. Molina; Wig Design by Harold Mertens; Make-Up Design by Harold Mertens; Associate Scenic Design: Mary Hamrick; Associate Costume Design: Jacob A. Climer; Associate Lighting Design: Caroline Chao; Associate Sound Design: Garth Helm; Associate Video Design: Sarah Jakubasz; Associate Wig Design: Rick Caroto; Associate Make-Up Design: Rick Caroto

Executive Producer: Adam Silberman and Eric Cornell; General Manager: Bespoke Theatricals; Company Manager: Kate Egan; Associate Gen. Mgr: David Roth; Associate Co. Mgr: Adam Jackson

Production Supervisor: Jake Bell and Lily Twining; Production Stage Manager: Lisa Dawn Cave; Stage Manager: Charles Underhill

Musical Supervisor: David Holcenberg; Musical Coordinator: John Miller; Conducted by Chris Fenwick; Associate Conductor: Philip Fortenberry; Guitar: Eric J. Stockton, J.J. McGeehan and Andrew Zinsmeister; Drums: Warren Odze; Bass: Alan Stevens Hewitt; Percussion: Javier Diaz; Keyboard: Chris Fenwick, Philip Fortenberry and Daniel Green; Reeds: Greg Thymius and Marc Phaneuf; Trumpet/Flugel: Craig Johnson and John Reid; Trombone/Bass Trombone: Nathan Mayland; Concert Master: Martin Agee; Violin: Monica K. Davis; Viola: Beth Meyers; Cello: Stephanie Cummins

Special Effects by Jeremy Chernick; Associate Special Effects: Erin Kennedy Lunsford

Casting: Jim Carnahan, C.S.A. and Carrie Gardner, C.S.A.; VP Marketing & Communications: Michele Groner; General Press Representative: Polk & Co.; Advertising: SPOTCo, Inc.; Marketing: SPOTCo, Inc.; Interactive Marketing: SPOTCo, Inc.; Photographer: Matthew Murphy; Dialect Coach: Kate Wilson; Dance Captain: James Brown III; Fight Captain: Vince Oddo; Associate Fight Choreographer: Patrick McCollum

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Opening Night Cast

Andy KarlRocky Balboa
Margo Seibert
Broadway debut
Terence ArchieApollo Creed
Danny MastrogiorgioPaulie
Dakin MatthewsMickey
Jennifer MudgeGloria
Adrian AguilarA Reporter
A Boxer
Eric AndersonGazzo
Rocky's Cornerman
Tommy Crosetti
Michelle AravenaAngie
James Brown IIISugar Jackson
A Boxer
A Cameraman
Sam J. CahnRocky Marciano
A Boxer
A Referee
Vincent CorazzaFrank Carazza
Appeared in film sequence only
Kevin Del AguilaMike
A Watchman
A Doctor
Ned EisenbergWysocki
An Announcer
Bob Dunphy
Sasha HutchingsApollo Girl
David Andrew MacdonaldMiles Jergens
Vasthy MompointLinda McKenna
Apollo Girl
Vince OddoA Boxer
Okieriete OnaodowanDipper
Apollo's Cornerman
Adam PerrySpider Rico
A Boxer
Boom Operator
Kristin PiroShirley
Apollo Girl
Luis SalgadoKid Rizzo
A Boxer
Rocky's Cornerman
John SchiappaBuddy
Jimmy Michaels
Wallace SmithApollo's Manager
Fight Promoter
Disc Jockey
Jenny Lee SternJoanne
Jonathan WalkerNewscaster
Appeared in film sequence only

Swings: Vincent Corazza, Bradley Gibson, Stacey Todd Holt, Samantha Shafer, Dan'yelle Williamson and Mark Zimmerman

Understudies: Adrian Aguilar (Rocky Balboa), Michelle Aravena (Adrian), Ned Eisenberg (Mickey), Bradley Gibson (Apollo Creed), Stacey Todd Holt (Paulie), Vince Oddo (Rocky Balboa), Okieriete Onaodowan (Apollo Creed), Kristin Piro (Gloria), John Schiappa (Paulie), Samantha Shafer (Adrian), Jenny Lee Stern (Gloria) and Mark Zimmerman (Mickey)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 2014 Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical [nominee] 

Andy Karl

 2014 Best Choreography [nominee] 

Steven Hoggett

 2014 Best Choreography [nominee] 

Kelly Devine

winner 2014 Best Scenic Design of a Musical [winner] 

Christopher Barreca

 2014 Best Lighting Design of a Musical [nominee] 

Christopher Akerlind

Drama Desk Award

 2014 Outstanding Musical [nominee] 

Produced by Stage Entertainment USA, Inc., Sylvester Stallone, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, The Shubert Organization (Philip J. Smith: Chairman; Robert E. Wankel: President), Kevin King-Templeton, James L. Nederlander & Terry Allen Kramer, Roy Furman, Cheryl Wiesenfeld, Zane Tankel, Lucky Champions, Scott Delman, JFL Theatricals/Judith Ann Abrams, Latitude Link, Waxman/Shin/Bergère and Lauren Stevens/Josh Goodman

 2014 Outstanding Actor in a Musical [nominee] 

Andy Karl

 2014 Outstanding Choreography [nominee] 

Steven Hoggett

 2014 Outstanding Choreography [nominee] 

Kelly Devine

 2014 Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical [nominee] 

Sound Design by Peter Hylenski

winner 2014 Outstanding Lighting Design [winner] 

Christopher Akerlind

winner 2014 Outstanding Set Design [winner] 

Christopher Barreca

 2014 Outstanding Director of a Musical [nominee] 

Alex Timbers


music by Stephen Flaherty; lyrics by Lynn Ahrens

ACT 1 Sung By
Ain't Down YetCompany, Fight Promoter, Gazzo and Buddy
My Nose Ain't BrokenRocky Balboa
PatrioticApollo Creed, Apollo's Manager, Miles Jergens, Apollo Girls and Ensemble
My Nose Ain't Broken (Reprise) Rocky Balboa
The Flip SideRocky Balboa and Adrian
AdrianRocky Balboa
Wanna Know WhyGazzo, Buddy, Rocky Balboa and Mickey
Fight from the HeartRocky Balboa
One of UsCompany
ACT 2 Sung By
Training Montage 1
In the RingMickey
Training Montage 2Company
HappinessRocky Balboa and Adrian
I'm DoneAdrian
Southside CelebrityCompany, Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed
Adrian (Reprise) Adrian
Keep on StandingRocky Balboa
Undefeated ManApollo Creed and Entourage
The FightCompany


AP: "'Rocky' predictable until it gets puzzling"

A new drinking game comes to Broadway thanks to the musical "Rocky." Here are the rules: Take a shot every time Rocky says "Yo, Adrian." If you get to intermission without passing out, you win.

The puzzling show "Rocky" opened Thursday at the Winter Garden Theatre, both lovingly faithful to the 1976 film written by and starring Sylvester Stallone and one that seems to forget it's supposed to be a musical midway through Act II.

"Yo, Adrian." Drink.

It features a score by "Ragtime" veterans Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens that's intriguing — fortified by Bill Conti's song "Gonna Fly Now" as well as Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" — but fails to really land a knockout punch. Songs like "Raining," ''My Nose Ain't Broke" and "Keep on Standing" are rather lovely, but the rest of the tunes are either cookie-cutter or seem like they were simply abandoned while director Alex Timbers gleefully unpacked his cool tricks for later. And, indeed, they are cool.

The story by Thomas Meehan, who wrote "The Producers" and "Hairspray," is so faithful to the film that you can predict the next scene a mile away: Raw eggs swallowed? Check. Running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art? Check. Punching beef? Of course.

"Yo, Adrian." Drink.

Andy Karl, a tall bite of cheese steak, plays the over-the-hill boxer like he's doing a karaoke of Stallone, complete with tough-guy bravado, guttural Philly accent, fedora, talking to turtles — "Yo, turtles!" — and a certain mental slowness. "Youse" is actually in the script.

Margo Seibert plays Adrian as the same mousey love interest from the film, but watching her bloom and stand up for herself is a joy and you long to hear her sing more. Terence Archie is having so much fun as the deliciously cocky Apollo Creed that you might stifle the desire for him to TKO Rocky.

The sight of huge carcasses is not the type of thing that should energize a Broadway crowd, but Chris Barreca's 14 slabs of beef in a cooler are spectacular, consistent with the set designer's winning work here. The boxing gym is gritty and dark, and his digitally enhanced pet store is a feast for the eyes.

But the set's highlight is the moving boxing ring that slips up and down in Act 1 and then shoots out into the first seven rows in Act 2, complete with pop-up Jumbotron. The displaced theatergoers are invited to watch the final fight from a riser at the back of the stage.

This baffling idea means the show actually grinds to a halt so folks in the theater's most expensive seats can be ushered onstage, while worried-looking stagehands awkwardly move heavy equipment onto their old rows. At this point, "Rocky" is trying to be immersive. The cost is its soul.

"Rocky" may also be one of the first shows to reveal influence from "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark." Like that prior visually powerful musical, "Rocky" also has multiple Rockies running around in hooded gray sweat suits to help make montages pop, and also uses a single figure running in place as projections fly by of a gritty cityscape.

Choreography by Steven Hoggett and Kelly Devine is a combustible mix of slow, balletic punches and the heady celebration of the muscular, as when a group of Rockies perform a perfectly timed punching maneuver that would make a Rockette proud. The attention to detail is impressive — there's even some dust rising from boxing gloves during the climactic fight.

Some not-so-nice touches include an overused, annoying TV camera crew to frame the buildup to the fight, and an attempt toward the end to make Rocky into a Christ-like figure, including glowing cross. ("Yo, Jesus?")

The final fight — a spectacular piece of theater, to be sure — is so lifelike that it becomes surreal. We're watching a simulated fight lifted from a fictional movie but played inside an ornate Broadway theater.

Which begs the question why this material screamed out to be a musical in the first place. The gritty, bloody world of 1970s boxing is not a natural fit for bursting into song — as some very awkward early moments in a gym here will attest. The creators seem to have acknowledged this tension and just abandoned the whole musical part. So the show ends with no rousing closing number, no speeches or dialogue, just a post-bout buzz.

And a hangover from too many "Yo, Adrians."


New York Daily News: "'Rocky': Theater review"

The Broadway musical “Rocky” is big-hearted, quick-fisted and predictable, but its last 15 minutes pack the punch of a heavyweight champ.

That’s when director Alex Timbers ingeniously swings this adaptation of Sylvester Stallone’s 1976 Oscar winner for Best Picture into audience members’ faces — and some laps.

The compressed 15-round fight finale between scruffy nobody Rocky Balboa and gleaming champ Apollo Creed delivers a thrilling mix of real-time hooks and jabs, slow-mo fury and stop-action bloody explosions.

The sequence, choreographed by Steven Hoggett, relies on a spectacular scenic surprise that changes the way you look at the production.

It’s a real knockout moment.

But to “go the distance,” to quote the fictional Balboa, a musical needs more than a stunning climax. Impressive performances and eloquent design work enrich this mid-1970s South Philadelphia story, but the by-the-numbers script and score alternately fight it.

Credit the book to Stallone, who’s also a producer, and Thomas Meehan (“Annie,” “The Producers”), who’ve decided to give fans what they expect.

Rocky (Andy Karl), a small-time boxer and reluctant collector for a loan shark, struggles for self-respect and to romance the shy Adrian (Margo Seibert). Their flirtatious trip to the ice skating rink — like Rocky slurping raw eggs, running the museum steps and getting that big shot at Creed (a magnetic Terence Archie) — is lifted straight from the film.

It makes sense to maintain what worked on film, but unlike the Broadway adaptation of “Once,” the musical version doesn’t ultimately transcend the movie.

The score by Stephen Flaherty (music) and Lynn Ahrens (lyrics), the Tony-winning “Ragtime” team, doesn’t help that much. Songs are efficient, not memorable, as they channel contemporary pop, feelings-on-sleeve ballads and soulful and bouncy R&B.

New numbers are complemented by the iconic “Eye of the Tiger,” which loses something moving from film to stage.

That said, the cast is terrific, especially the two leads.

Karl brings lovable gruffness, hunky vocals and pecs appeal. He is solid in the extremely physical title role. Seibert turns “Raining,” a song about hard knocks, and the self-evident “Happiness” into high points.

Thanks to these fine actors you root for Rocky, the romantic lug with pet turtles, and Adrian, the girl he coaxes out her shell.

Wisely, the show saves the best for last — not the awesome boxing match, but the characters’ professions of love. After all, winning at love is what “Rocky” is about.

New York Daily News

Replacement/Transfer Info

The following people are credited as replacements or additions if they were not credited on opening night.

Winter Garden Theatre

(3/13/2014 - 8/17/2014)
Associate Conductor: Daniel Green; Keyboard: Rick Hip-Flores.


Adrian Aguilar
A Cameraman

Understudies: James Brown III (Apollo Creed).

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