The Australian mega-musical King Kong, which premiered in Melbourne in 2013, will make its New York debut in fall 2018 at the Broadway Theatre, producers Carmen Pavlovic (Global Creatures) and Roy Furman announced.
An all-new creative team has been assembled to bring King Kong to Broadway, including Olivier Award-winning book writer Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Let the Right One In), Olivier Award-winning director-choreographer Drew McOnie (Strictly Ballroom, In the Heights), and Australian songwriter Eddie Perfect, who is also adapting Beetlejuice for Broadway.
Perfect joins the show’s original composer and arranger Marius de Vries (Moulin Rouge, Romeo + Juliet), who is one of the few original creative team members to remain with the production.
King Kong has been a challenge for its producers, who have worked through various revisions of the musical in an effort to humanize the story and the show’s central figure—a one-ton, two-story silverback gorilla, controlled by a group of puppeteers and aerialists.
Among those to depart the project are original director Daniel Kramer and Tony-winning book writer Craig Lucas; and, most recently, playwright Marsha Norman, composer Jason Robert Brown, and director Eric Schaeffer, who attempted another treatment of Kong in 2015.
“I’m thrilled that King Kong will be coming to Broadway next season led by Drew McOnie and Jack Thorne, who will bring a new dimension to the telling of Kong’s story. Drew’s physical world will allow Kong to live in ways we never thought possible, propelled by Jack’s text and the score and songs written by Marius de Vries and Eddie Perfect,” Pavlovic said in a statement.
Furman added, “King Kong is a quintessential New York story and I’m proud to be involved in this historic production. Our team is creating a theatrical experience that we hope will astound audiences, while delighting them with its heartfelt storytelling.”
Based on the original 1933 screenplay, this latest take on King Kong is described as a contemporary take on the classic tale of beauty and the beast.
Much of the original Australian design team continue with the project, including Peter England (set design), Sonny Tilders (creature design), Roger Kirk (costume design), Peter Mumford (lighting design), Peter Hylenski (sound design), and Gavin Robins (aerial and King Kong movement director).
King Kong is authorized by the Merian C. Cooper Estate.