He's been in the Global Creatures West Melbourne maternity ward for nearly five years, but earlier this month King Kong arrived at the Regent Theatre for rehearsals, ahead of the 15 June opening of the epic music theatre event that bears his name. Today, the first glimpse of Kong has been released! Check him out in the video below!
"The craftsmanship, ingenuity and love invested by all our workshop staff is evident on stage already, and under the care of Director Daniel Kramer, Puppetry Director Peter Wilson and Aerial/Circus Director Gavin Robbins, Kong is preparing for his worldwide premiere," said Creature Designer Sonny Tilders. "We'll be the proud parents at the opening in June and can't wait."
Whilst Kong and his 'Kings Men' puppeteers are working at the Regent Theatre, due to sheer size of the production, the rest of the 50-strong cast are rehearsing across three spaces at the Melbourne Showgrounds.
"We are making a complete music theatre experience, with a love story at its core," said Producer Carmen Pavlovic. "Watching our cast rehearse at the Showgrounds, away from all the marvels already housed inside the Regent, it's clear to me that KING KONG's music and story stand alone."
Composer and arranger Marius de Vries, whose credits include the soundtracks for Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet as well as being the writer/arranger/producer for artists such as Madonna, Bjork and Rufus Wainwright, will create and oversee a musical adventure to match that of the story: from revamped 1930s Broadway classics like 'Get Happy', 'I Wanna Be Loved By You' and 'Brother Can You Spare a Dime', to new and existing songs from some of the world's best contemporary artists, including Robert Del Naja from Massive Attack, Sarah McLachlan, Justice, Guy Garvey from Elbow and The Avalanches. A key collaborator on the musical landscape for the show has been Stephen Pavlovic from Modular People, the Sydney-based music label and promoter, while New York's Michael Mitnick has contributed lyrics to several new compositions.
The principal cast features Esther Hannaford (Hairspray) as Ann Darrow, newcomer Adam Lyon as Carl Denham, Chris Ryan (Thyestes) as Jack Driscoll, veteran stage actor Richard Piper as Captain Engelhorn and the queen of musical theatre and cabaret, Queenie van de Zandt as Cassandra.
Based on the novel of the original 1933 screenplay, the stage show of KING KONG is a modern take on the classic tale of beauty and the beast. This timeless love story hits the Melbourne stage as the world marks the 80th anniversary of the original Merian C. Cooper King Kong movie.
The new stage musical KING KONG, premieres 15 June 2013 for an exclusive, Melbourne only, season at the Regent Theatre in Australia. As BroadwayWorld previously reported, producers are interested in bringing KONG to Broadway as early as 2014.