New York-Aimed King Kong Gets High Profile Presentation With Broadway Players

News   New York-Aimed King Kong Gets High Profile Presentation With Broadway Players
 
Robert Creighton, Lora Lee Gayer, Marc Kudisch and Euan Morton were part of a high-profile Feb. 19 presentation of the Broadway-aimed mega musical King Kong.

"Full Moon Lullaby" (Esther Hannaford)
"Full Moon Lullaby" (Esther Hannaford) Photo by Jeff Busby

Representatives for the production confirmed news of the staged presentation that was held at the Baryshnikov Arts Center Friday afternoon. Emmy Award winner and Tony Award nominee Joshua Bergasse joined the production team as choreographer.

As first reported by Playbill.com, Eric Schaeffer (Follies, Gigi, Million Dollar Quartet) is helming the fresh take on the Australian-born musical that premiered in Melbourne in 2013.

King Kong is getting new character-driven musical material from Tony Award winners Jason Robert Brown and Marsha Norman. The project reunites the composer with his Bridges of Madison County collaborator Norman, who has written both book and lyrics. Portions of the show's Australian score – created by Australian creative team member Marius de Vries ("Moulin Rouge" and "Romeo + Juliet") – remain intact.

The cast for the reading included Creighton as Benny, Gayer as Ann Darrow, Kudisch as Carl Denham, Morton as Jack Driscoll, Cole Edelstein as Young Jack, Benny Elledge as the Voice of Kong and Sam Foster as King Kong. It has not been revealed how the latter two actors will figure into the new staging. The musical's centerpiece is a one-ton, six-meter-tall silverback gorilla, controlled by a group of puppeteers and aerialists who bring the massive puppet to life on stage.

The ensemble included James Brown III, Chris Critelli, Ashley Blair Fitzgerald, Jenny Laroche, Cory Lingner, Nathan Madden, Barrett Martin, Skye Mattox, Harris Milgrim, Fred Odgaard, Adam Perry, Clifton Samuels, Charles South, Sam Strasfeld, Tanairi Vasquez, Charlie Williams, Cody Williams, Michael Williams, Mikey Winslow and Ryan Worsing.

No word yet on when Kong will take his Broadway bow. Carmen Pavlovic, Gerry Ryan and Roy Furman are producing the musical.

Much of the Australian design team remains on board, including production designer Peter England, creature designer Sonny Tilders, Tony Award-winning costume designer Roger Kirk, lighting designer Peter Mumford and Grammy, Tony and Olivier Award-nominated sound designer Peter Hylenski. David Caddick is the show's musical supervisor.

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