Saturday, September 25, 2021

THEATER REVIEWS: ROCKY

March 14, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

They’ve gone and made Rocky into a full-fledged Broadway musical, and — surprise! surprise! — it has garnered some approving, if not outright enthusiastic reviews. Marilyn Stasio in Variety was impressed by the $16.5 million production. “Looks like it was worth every penny,” she wrote. Nearly every critic was impressed with the climactic fight sequence, which Stasio described this way. “By the time the big fight comes around, the audience is all warmed up — especially those patrons sitting in the first dozen or so rows of the orchestra who are escorted from their seats and trundled up to the stage and onto bleacher seats to play their collective role as the fight crowd. The fight itself is a brilliant piece of staging, all the more so because it’s also seen in closeup detail on the giant video screens of the Jumbotron. But even before the fight begins, the transformation of the theater into the auditorium setting of a boxing match is itself a spectacular effect, and one better seen than described.” Elisabeth Vincentelli in the New York Post wrote that the boxing scene is “something electric” that got “theatergoers on their feet and writers scuttling for exclamation points.” However, she noted, “Problem is, that finale is preceded by an hour and a half of less thrilling moments.” Joe Dziemianowicz in the New York Daily News also remarked that the show is mostly “big-hearted, quick-fisted and predictable.” However, he added, “Its last 15 minutes pack the punch of a heavyweight champ.” Forget about pulling punches when it comes to Rex Reed’s review in the New York Observer. He had none to pull. “You have never experienced anything on a Broadway stage like the championship bout that brings the show to a screaming, tumultuous finale,” he wrote. He concluded: “You go away from Rocky hugely entertained, with a song in your soul and hope in your heart.” Only Ben Brantley in the New York Times ended up giving the production a failing grade — except for the fight scene, that is. He remarked, “The official curtain time for Rocky … is 8 on most nights. But at the risk of promoting tardiness among theatergoers, I feel obliged to point out that the show doesn’t really get started until 10:10 or thereabouts. That’s when a production that has seemed to be down for the count since the opening bars of its overture suddenly acquires a pulse. And the audience wakes out of a couch potato stupor … to the startling tingle of adrenaline in its blood. Of course, by that point, it’s all over but the fighting.”