Stallone's Rocky Musical Makes Broadway Debut
A Broadway musical of the 1976 Oscar-winning film Rocky has had its first bout with critics in New York after opening night.
It took Sylvester Stallone 14 years to bring the story to the stage and he joined the cast on the red carpet on Thursday night.
"It's so typical of Rocky that everything is just uphill, it's a battle, it's always difficult. But that's what makes these victories so much more rewarding. I thought this, 'oh yeah, Rocky on Broadway, it's been around for 30 years,' not a chance," said Stallone.
The musical, complete with a full-size boxing ring, first opened in Hamburg, Germany, in 2012.
The boxing classic may not appear to immediately lend itself to singing and dancing but the star said he always thought the characters were very musical.
"When I was writing it I use to think about these like Marty (Martin Scorsese) and Mean Streets and West Side Story. And I always saw them as kind of poetic street characters. You know what I mean, so I thought this would be a natural - but no one else did."
The musical follows the story of amateur boxer Rocky Balboa who is tapped to fight heavy weight champ Apollo Creed. As he begins to train for the fight, which he is not expected to win, he falls for his friend's sister Adrian.
While the 16-minute fight sequence climax received wide praise in reviews, The New York Times said the directors have "gone overboard in capitalising on this legend".
Ben Brantley wrote: "For what they have given us is a show that at first feels like such a flat liner that you can't imagine that it could pull itself into any kind of competitive shape."
He added that the songs "mutter solemnly and repetitively".
Variety said the extravagant production and lighting effects made the show worth the reported $16.5m spent on it.
At the after party, actor Andy Karl, who portrays Rocky, said he tried to make the character his own, with just a few touches from Stallone's film portrayal.
"I think everybody in the world thinks Rocky is an actual living character. So from an actor's point of view I just sort of took it at that. I was like, I'm going to play this historical figure. So yes, I emulate some of those things that he does with the movie because it's been happening through six films and probably more after this. So I emulate some of the characteristics he had with the character. But I also know that I need to play it honestly," he said.
And playing such an iconic role comes with bumps and bruises.
"I had a black eye. I had a tweaked neck. Let's see what else I got. I got all sorts of bangs ups and bruises throughout rehearsals and stuff like that. But we slowly figured it out. My neck can take - I can get punched in the head now," he said with a smile.
Newcomer Margo Seibert is making her debut as Rocky's love and said being a part of such a big production her first time out is thrilling.
"I mean sometimes I come home at night and I say to my boyfriend, 'I just did a show on Broadway.' You know, like, it's still so new to me. And tonight to have your opening night be Rocky on Broadway, I'm over the moon," she said.