Theater Review: “ROCKY”


  • Musical Theatre Kansas City, Shawnee, Kansas
  • April 14, 2024


It’s my second favorite film of all time.  The story of a boxer and his million to one shot.  So, when I first heard a few years ago that ROCKY was coming to Broadway, I was ecstatic.  I never made it to NYC to see it, but a friend of mine sent me the Original Cast CD and I liked what I heard.  So I was happy to see that the talented people at MTKC was staging the show locally.


November 1975.  Club fighter Rocky Balboa (a well-cast Drew Starlin) is making his living as a “debt collector” by day and a club fighter by night.  As he tells his manager, Mickey (Rick Averill), “it’s a living.”  But he wants more.  More includes Adrian (Jasmine Hall,” the shy sister of Rocky’s best friend, Paulie (Chris Clements).  When the forementioned “million to one shot” lands in his lap, Rocky finds himself in the biggest fight of his career.


Based on the film script by Sylvester Stallone, with a book by Stallone and Thomas Meehan (the Broadway shows “Annie,” “The Producers,” “Hairspray”), ROCKY is a very faithful adaptation of the film, The actors on stage are accompanied by a pretty impressive multi-media background, giving even the simplest set a larger feel.  This is most evident during the final fight between Rocky and Apollo Creed (Shane St. James).


The songs, by Stephen Flaherty (“Seussical” and Lyn Ahrens (“My Favorite Year,” “Ragtime”) capture the emotion of the situations unfolding onstage.  The cast is strong, especially Mr. Starlin and Ms. Hall, who, rather then doing an impression of the original film’s actors, give the characters a sweetness and vulnerability that extends throughout the show.  And a special shout-out to Mr. Clements, who truly captures the mixed emotions felt by Paulie.


A few technical glitches aside, the presentation was smooth and the audience I was in cheered at all the right places.


On a scale of zero to five, I give ROCKY ★★


ROCKY continues at MTKC on Friday, Saturday and Sundays through April 28th.  For tickets and more information, click HERE.

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