After a successful run in Germany, a musical version of classic boxing film Rocky is getting ready for a bigger arena: Broadway.
Producers of the stage musical confirmed on Sunday that Rocky will hit Manhattan's Winter Garden Theatre for previews beginning in February 2014. The theatre's current production, Mamma Mia, is moving to another venue in late 2013.
The musical based on Sylvester Stallone's Oscar-winning 1976 drama had its world premiere in Hamburg in November, with the action star and heavyweight boxing champs Vladimir and Vitali Klitschko among its co-producers.
Originally written in English, the musical was translated into German for the tryout run and was deemed a successful debut, reportedly drawing crowds to packed performances. Like Stallone's classic, the stage version charts the rise of amateur boxer Rocky Balboa and his budding romance with Adrianna Pennino.
"The reason I think it has worked so well there and why I think it'll work on Broadway is that, yes, it's a story about boxing, but the real story is actually an intimate, powerful and gritty and moving love story between two people who are both lonely and in a difficult place in their worlds," said Bill Taylor, managing director of production firm Stage Entertainment USA.
"This is not boxers doing a kick line," he added.
"It's stunning movement representing some of the sparring and the fighting. It's very, very cleverly created."
The musical features a creative team of stage heavyweights, with a score by Ragtime collaborators Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, a story by The Producers and Hairspray scribe Thomas Meehan and director Alex Timbers, whose credits include Peter and the Starcatcher, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and current buzz production Here Lies Love.
Rocky's opening night on Broadway has yet to be confirmed, but is expected to be in March 2014. No casting has yet been announced.
"I couldn't be more proud or more excited about this production and how my original story of Rocky Balboa has been brought to spectacular life onstage," Stallone, who penned the original screenplay and starred in the film and its sequels, said in a statement.
"[The creative team members] have made his story as exciting, heart-breaking, and inspiring as it was when Rocky first went the distance onscreen."