King Kong Revamped for U.S. Premiere as Original Creative Team Departs

News   King Kong Revamped for U.S. Premiere as Original Creative Team Departs Producers of the Australian stage spectacle King Kong have parted ways with director Daniel Kramer and librettist Craig Lucas as the new musical undergoes revisions for a North American premiere, Playbill.com has confirmed.

http://images.playbill.com/photo/k/o/kongnew200_1384469077.jpg
Photo by Jeff Busby

Both director Kramer and Lucas (The Light in the Piazza) were part of the original creative team of King Kong when the musical premiered in June 2013 at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne. They have exited the production due to "creative differences."

Reviews for the production, which can be read here, were mixed.

U.S. representatives for the musical also confirmed to Playbill.com that Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright-librettist Marsha Norman (The Secret Garden, The Bridges of Madison County, 'Night Mother) has been brought on to rewrite the book for King Kong.

A new director is currently being sought.

A timeline for King Kong's U.S. premiere has not been announced. The New York Times reports that King Kong may go into the Broadway Theatre following a reported Broadway run of the musical Dr. Zhivago. The Broadway Theatre is currently home to Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, which ends its run Jan. 3, 2015. Producer Carmen Pavlovic of Global Creatures issued the following statement. "We have parted ways with director Daniel Kramer and book writer Craig Lucas due to creative differences. Pulitzer Prize-winner Marsha Norman has signed on as the book writer and preliminary discussions are underway with several possible directors to take over the project. Once the new team is in place an assessment will be made on a North American production timeline. We will continue to develop the show to ensure the best possible experience for Broadway audiences."

The musical's centerpiece is a one-ton, six-meter-tall silver back gorilla, controlled by a group of puppeteers and aerialists who bring the massive puppet to life on stage.

For the Australian production, composer and arranger Marius de Vries, whose credits include the soundtracks for "Moulin Rouge" and "Romeo + Juliet," created a score that featured 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 contributed lyrics to several new compositions.

Here's a look at Kong:

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