Songwriters Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty have teamed with writer Thomas Meehan to create a new version of the 1976 Academy Award-winning boxing movie. Creators and producers – including the star of the film series, Sylvester Stallone – held a private reading of the work in New York last month, with a view to opening the show in Germany late next year.
According to Thomas – who has previously worked on productions including 'Hairspray' and 'Annie' – discussions about the project have been ongoing for eight years and they are now pleased with what they have come up with for the show.
He told the New York Times newspaper: “It’s been a long gestation period, but it’s come to be a work that we’re really proud of.
“There was some worry early on — could we really make a musical out of a boxing picture? Could you make Rocky sing and dance? But when we did the reading, people were very impressed, and we’re going forward.”
Thomas said the small-orchestra show will have around five principal characters, but Sylvester will serve as an artistic partner and producer, not as a cast member, and revealed the plot follows closely that featured in the original 'Rocky' movie, with emphasis on the emotional elements.
He said: “At first I thought, all the world needs is a ‘Rocky’ musical. But then I looked at the film. I thought it had beautiful construction and such high emotion, and it was a natural musical: There is a David and Goliath story, a Cinderella story, a love story between two outcasts. It’s less about boxing than about finding self-respect and finding your soul mate.”
If the German production is a success, producers Stage Entertainment are hopeful of staging the musical on New York's Broadway in spring 2013.