Dr. Blackwell's BLOG

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Theater News: King Kong: The Musical

Filed under: Performing Arts — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 16:42


King Kong: The Musical, which is being touted as one of the most technically sophisticated productions to ever grace the stage, is quickly moving forward in Australia. The show’s producers recently announced that principal casting for the lavish production had been completed and producers posted an enticing video of a press conference complete with a sampling of songs from the show on its Web site (http://kingkongliveonstage.com). According to Playbill:

The new musical features a book by Craig Lucas. Composer and arranger Marius de Vries, whose credits include the soundtracks for “Moulin Rouge” and “Romeo + Juliet,” will create and oversee a a score that will feature revamped versions of 1930s Broadway classics like “Get Happy,” “I Wanna Be Loved By You” and “Brother Can You Spare a Dime” as well as new and existing songs from a mix of contemporary artists: Robert Del Naja from Massive Attack, Sarah McLachlan, Justice, Guy Garvey from Elbow and The Avalanches. A key collaborator on the musical landscape for the show is Stephen Pavlovic from Modular People; Michael Mitnick has contributed lyrics to several new compositions.

Director Kramer said in a statement, “It’s tempting to focus on the spectacle of King Kong himself. But it is only through the humanity of the life around him – the people of New York City, the comic megalomania of filmmaker Carl Denham, the stubborn opposition of first mate Jack Driscoll, and the grace, beauty and power of our leading lady, Ann Darrow – that he truly takes life. After three years of auditions and workshops, it is an honour to introduce the world premiere cast of King Kong.”

The musical, according to press notes, “has gone back to the source – the novella of the original film by Merian C. Cooper and Edgar Wallace – in this world-first adaptation as a large-scale musical. Featuring a cast of 49 actors, singers, dancers, circus performers and puppeteers; a crew of 76; and arguably the most technologically advanced puppet in the world – a one-tonne, six-metre giant silverback – King Kong will be an epic and dazzlingly original theatrical experience.”

The character of King Kong, according to producers, will be “an imposing, stylised silverback of exaggerated proportions…a highly sophisticated animatronic/marionette hybrid that will be controlled by the integration of hydraulics, automation and the manual manipulation from a team of puppeteer/aerialists (The King’s Men) on stage, and off.”

King Kong: The Musical arrives at the Regent Theater in Melbourne on June 13, 2013. Excerpts courtesy Playbill.com.

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