Just as the Academy Award-winning film it's named after did for filmgoers, Rocky the musical has been taking audiences for a surprisingly emotional and testosterone-drenched thrill ride since opening at Broadway's Winter Garden Theatre March 13.
But for the man immortalizing the role of the paparazzi-prone, prize-winning pugilist Apollo Creed on stage, Rocky being a hit on The Great White Way wasn't too much of a surprise.
"I know that a prevailing opinion of a lot of people is to think that it was a far-fetched idea when they first heard about it, but I necessarily wasn't thinking that way," Terence Archie told Playbill.com. "Broadway has had a lot of interesting and eclectic offerings over the years, so I wouldn't think that it's a particularly terrible idea to put 'Rocky' on Broadway, if you have the right musical team and the right people behind it."
The team, indeed: Mainly, Sylvester Stallone, who shot to Hollywood stardom as the writer and star of the original film in 1976. He's the lead producer of the show, its biggest champion and has been driving the train to get it to Broadway for years. With music and lyrics by Tony Award-winning collaborators Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (Ragtime), book by Thomas Meehan (Hairspray), choreography by Steven Hoggett (Once) and direction by Alex Timbers (Peter and the Starcatcher), how can you go wrong? Andy Karl (The Mystery of Edwin Drood), who received a Tony Award nomination for his performance in the leading role, isn't too shabby either.
Archie knew Ahrens from the 2009 revival of Ragtime, which was his Broadway debut. The Detroit native and North Carolina School of the Arts alumni originated the role of Creed in Rocky Das Musical in Hamburg, Germany three years before the Broadway production opened. He described his life abroad as a "fish out of water" experience. "It was probably the most humbling professional experience that I've had because it wasn't about my art so much, it was about my learning and me humbling myself to the process of learning another culture and learning the language," he explained. "I felt more like a student than anything over there. So that was the hard part and the most rewarding part."
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