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Broadway is finally getting a King Kong musical next fall

By
Adam Feldman
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A musical inspired by the 1933 ape-meets-girl movie King Kong will open on Broadway in Fall 2018, producers announced today. This will be exciting news for people who love stories about hairy megafauna climbing skyscrapers but wish they had more songs—which sounds a bit like saying you love coffee but wish it had more potatoes, but hey, great musicals have been based on stranger things, probably.

Theater fans may recall that the King Kong musical has been hoping to scale the heights of Broadway for some time. After a 2013 premiere in Melbourne, Australia, the show planned to move to the Great White Way as early as 2014, but multiple creative overhauls have slowed the process. American playwrights Craig Lucas and Marsha Norman both took shots at the script, but their work has been jettisoned in favor of a new version of Jack Thorne, whose Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will arrive on Broadway earlier in 2018.

English director-choreographer Drew McOnie will make his Broadway debut with the production, which features songs by Australia's Eddie Perfect and music by producer-composer Marius de Vries, who began his career playing keyboards for a band called the Blow Monkeys (perhaps not the most auspicious omen). The title character will be depicted via puppetry; human casting has not been announced.

Since Thorne's Harry Potter show will be at the Lyric Theatre, where King Kong once wanted to play, the production will settle for the slightly smaller but still very large Broadway Theatre, which currently houses the revival of Miss Saigon. Producers surely hope that King Kong will be more like the 1994 cartoon-to-stage musical Beauty and The Beast, which ran for 13 years, and less like the 2004 gorilla drama Prymate, which ran for four days.

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