There's something absolutely ridiculous about a musical based on the 1976 film Rocky. At least until you really think about it; I walked into this article ready to heckle, but the more consideration I gave the idea, the more I liked it.
First the facts: Sylvester Stallone is teaming with Wladimir Kitschko and his brother Vitali (Russia's Frank Stallone?) to produce a musical based on the movie that gave Sly his career. The book will be written by Thomas Meehan, who wrote Annie and the Broadway version of The Producers (he also worked on the script for Spaceballs). Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty will be doing the music and lyrics. And Klitschko will be training the lead actor in how to box. The show will open in... Hamburg, Germany in November of 2012. It will be performed in German. Okay, that part is sincerely weird.
A number of the famous songs from the series will show up in the show; Eye of the Tiger, Gonna Fly Now and Take You Back (!!!!!! That's Frank Stallone's doo wop song!!!!) will appear.
But getting back to the concept: the original Rocky is a sweet story about a genial palooka who fights in smokers and hangs out at a pet shop getting turtle food and hitting on the terminally shy clerk. It's a brilliant, great movie because it's a human movie, focusing on the characters and their fully realized world. There's enough emotion in there to make a pretty reasonable musical.
The question is how you do the fights - are they musical numbers as well, or just choreographed matches? This is what kind of intrigues me. The more I think about the show, the more it comes into clarity. I'm picturing a big number for Rocky running up the steps, followed by a crazy dance sequence. I am imagining Rocky's turtles, Cuff and Link, as a Greek chorus for the show. I can all but hear Paulie's Lament and Yer A Bum! in my head right now. I hope all of Adrian's numbers are sung in a whispered mumble. I hope Apollo Creed gets a rap number.