King Kong, the new Broadway musical based on Merian C. Cooper’s 1932 adventure novel that inspired the 1933 Hollywood classic—and a subsequent film franchise—officially opens November 8 at the Broadway Theatre. King Kong arrives in New York following a 2013 Melbourne world premiere. Previews began October 5.
The centerpiece of the production is also its titular star: a 20-foot-high, 2,000-pound silverback gorilla that towers over his co-stars, a menacing aggressor whose lifelike face is capable of expressing a breathtaking range of emotion.
The awe-inspiring creature is brought to life by fusing state-of-the-art animatronic and robotic technology with a massive marionette puppet that is controlled by a team of onstage puppeteers aerialists.
Lead producer Carmen Pavlovic enlisted an all-new creative team to ready King Kong for New York audiences. The Broadway creative team boasts Tony- and 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), 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).
The cast is led by Christiani Pitts, (A Bronx Tale) as Ann Darrow, Eric William Morris (Mamma Mia!) as Carl Denham, and Erik Lochtefeld (Misery, Metamorphoses) as Lumpy.
King Kong follows young actor Ann Darrow (Pitts) and filmmaker Carl Denham (Morris) as they voyage from 1930s New York to an uncharted island to capture a great, mysterious wonder.
The King Kong ensemble includes Ashley Andrews, Mike Baerga, Rhaamell Burke-Missouri, Chloë Campbell, Leroy Church, Peter Chursin, Jōvan Dansberry, Kayla Davion, Rory Donovan, Casey Garvin, Christopher Hampton Grant, Jon Hoche, Gabriel Hyman, Harley Jay, James T. Lane, Marty Lawson, Jonathan Christopher MacMillan, Danny Miller, Brittany Marcell Monachino, Jennifer Noble, Kristen Faith Oei, Eliza Ohman, Roberto Olvera, Jaquez André Sims, Khadija Tariyan, Jena VanElslander, Scott Austin Weber, Jacob Williams, Lauren Yalango-Grant, Warren Yang, and David Yijae.
The production team also includes set and projection designer Peter England, costume designer Roger Kirk, lighting designer Peter Mumford, sound designer Peter Hylenski, aerial and movement director Gavin Robins, and hair designer Tom Watson. David Caddick is music supervisor with casting by Tara Rubin Casting. Johanna McKeon is associate director, and the associate choreographer is Ellenore Scott.
King Kong is produced by Carmen Pavlovic (Global Creatures) and Roy Furman.