“King Kong” premiered October 2018 on Broadway, at the Broadway Theatre. After opening, the reviews came pouring in. The New York Times said that Kong “certainly is the most expressive performer onstage, what with the platoon of puppeteers and voice artists bringing him to life.
Lights, camera, action (and a massive gorilla)! This jaw-dropping musical production of “King Kong” is written by Jack Throne, composed and produced by Marius De Vries, and has songs by Eddie Perfect.
The King with the sad eyes and the beautiful Queen conquering New York City sounded like a good idea at the time, but for the King and Queen, well that was soon to go downhill. “All stories start with ambition,” and this one meets that description all right.
Being the Queen of New York hardened Ann’s heart, but the beast made her see the pain in others. From a kid that has never seen the King Kong movies in her life, I didn’t know what to expect. The only thing I knew about King Kong was that he was a massive gorilla—and the famous movie quote, “It was beauty that killed the beast.” Not only does this play tell the iconic story of the one true King, it tells the story of an actress in the works who ends up finding her self to be a strong independent woman in love with the 8th wonder in the world! We all can say hallelujah to that.
New York was rising in the 1930s, and you could tell they incorporated this into the show. During the numbers “Prologue” and “The Queen of New York,” they rose with the city. The background used a lot of advanced technology; it was different than any other show I’ve seen.
As the men were on the ropes holding on, it felt like you’re rising with them. It was magnificent. When on the boat, you feel as if you were on board with them. You can see the background changing from exiting New York Harbor to viewing the Statue of Liberty then being on the open sea. It was like you could even take a dip if you wanted to. You will notice they put a lot of effort into this.
My heart racing, my brain exploding as I hear grunts becoming louder and louder. I see two eyes on a stage of darkness. I was nervous for Ann Darrow, played by Christiani Pitts, who hung from vines pulling her to the top of the theater. She screamed for help as her fellow member Carl Denham, played by Eric William Morris, just sat there.
It didn’t help that Lumpy, played by Erik Lochtefeld, can’t do anything. I froze as I saw the beast come out of the shadows and roared for us all to hear. I felt as if it wasn’t a puppet; it was real. The puppeteering skills were incredible as so were the design of Kong. When he roared, you can see the detailing in his mouth, that’s like amazing!! It was spot on.
They had so much skill and precision, and that’s just talking about Kong. I’m not even mentioning the snake on skull island and every other scene. Not only did Kong prove himself worthy of being King, but he showed that he could be a very compassionate creature. He’s the true man in this story. When Ann sang, “Full Moon Lullaby,” you could see how vulnerable Kong was. Kong let his guard down, trusted Ann. They had to “Kill the Queen to save the King.”
The white dress, or should I say dresses, took my breath away. I am proud of how the costumes turned out. They were beautiful, and I mean, BE-AU-TI-FUL! I want to buy one, just put it in a museum. When the jungle was alive, and you notice the people, they blended in perfectly with their surroundings. Roger Kirk, you better take a bow, you slayed the competition with those costumes. They had an elegant 30’s flair.
A team, a family. The ensemble cast stole the show. The ensemble not only can do cool acrobatic jumps and flips but can sing their hearts out and be amazing. I am so happy I got to see the show, just by watching them work together. The ensemble had a perfect harmony. I wanted to flip and dance with them. I don’t know how these guys can do flips and cool things and not pull a muscle. All I thought ws, “I can’t do this!” Hahaha! The ensemble cast was incredibly talented.
Flips, leaps, and lifts oh my! The choreography was one of a kind. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was pretty electrifying I can tell you that. I felt as if I was rising with excitement as they moved from one spot to another. With such talent and grace, it was fun to watch. Let’s give a round of applause to Drew McOnie who not only was the choreographer but was the director!
This is a must-see production! You will be amazed by every little detail in “King Kong.” I am glad I went, and you will be too. I urge to see it again. Go before it’s over, for this show will soon be closing. Whoever knew you could fall in love with a beast.