The late-career comeback of Sylvester Stallone took a detour to Broadway this week with the opening of his "Rocky" at the Winter Garden Theatre. The new show, which Stallone co-wrote and produced (but doesn't star in), is a musical version of his 1976 movie about a Philadelphia boxer who dreams of big victory.
Stallone took a bow on Thursday when "Rocky" officially opened in New York following a month of preview performances. The actor has been working on the musical for a number of years, first unveiling the show in Hamburg, Germany in 2012.
The musical -- which comes with a reported price tag of $16.5 million, steep by Broadway standards -- features music by Stephen Flaherty, who has reworked some of the movie music originally scored by Bill Conti.
The New York cast includes Andy Karl in the title role and Margo Seibert as Adrian. Los Angeles theater veteran Dakin Matthews plays the trainer role originated on screen by Burgess Meredith, and Terence Archie plays Apollo Creed.
Stallone has hired Alex Timbers to direct the musical. The Winter Garden had been the longtime home of the Abba musical "Mamma Mia!" which opened in 2001 and moved to the Broadhurst Theatre last year.
"Rocky" features some of the movie's most memorable moments, including the climb up the stairs to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the final prize fight takes place in a rotating boxing ring that affords theater audiences multiple vantage points.
Reviews of "Rocky" have been mixed. The New York Times praised the climactic fight between Rocky and Apollo Creed but described the first half as slow and uninvolving. Variety also said the first half drags but the second half proves to be a clincher with the rousing fight sequence. The Philadelphia Inquirer said the show stands on its own apart from the movie, largely because of Timbers' innovative direction.