Many music theatre buffs will be disappointed to learn that a King Kong musical is in the works, its hairy heart set on Broadway. Broadway is becoming more and more a theme park, they will say. Disappointing, they will say, that a playwright like Craig Lucas should have to pay the bills with such tosh. They are right, of course.
History buffs will point out that it was ever thus. In the 1930s, a script and score would be written around established comedy teams, and in the 2010s, apparently, scripts and scores will be written around an established big robot ape.
Students of economics will point out that said ape is an Aussie creation, and that I, as an Aussie, should applaud any steps to lessen our appalling balance of ape deficit. Also Aussie Roger Kirk is the announced costume designer.
But I’m disappointed that the score won’t be original: “new music and period songs” sounds to me like, well … period songs, and it was the original songs that saved many of those silly 1930s pre-fab shows.
Besides, look at Sonny Tilders, the creature designer, doing so much of the songwriter’s work for free:
When he scratches his nose, for instance, it will have to be done in one fluid, controlled motion where all the muscles up his arm will move at once and he has enough control not to accidentally punch a hole in his face!
Lights up on Ann Darrow, provocatively displayed upstage right on a stunning divan, her arm thrown back languidly behind her head. She wears naught but a gossamer-thin negligee and a look of worry.
Suddenly, to the blare of trumpets and thunder of cellos, Kong’s terrific paw bursts through the fabulous smoke glass window behind her!
Ann: Aw, Gawd, ya dizzy chimp! That ain’t no way to pitch woo to a lady, see!
Kong: When Kong scratch his nose,
It never shows
The trouble, the trouble
To which mighty Kong goes
When Kong scratch his nose
When Kong need embrace
Like in this case
He lucky, he lucky
To not punch hole in face
When Kong need embrace
Carmen Pavlovic, the CEO of Global Creatures, says “Kong does not pick up a microphone and serenade Ann. That much I promise you”, but I’m pretty sure this will change her mind. I say we get John Goodman for the voice.
- `King Kong’ musical may make Broadway fans bananas (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- ‘Kong’ to climb Broadway (variety.com)
- The Beast Eyes Broadway: ‘King Kong’ to Take New York Again (artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com)