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Monday, March 17, 2014

Lynn Ahrens On Rocky

“When people say ‘Rocky on Broadway,’ we know there’s a big question mark there. We had the same question mark in our minds when we were first offered this project,” said Ahrens, who grew up in Neptune. “We were skeptical about it being possible to do, too… There are so many factors here. The one thing we knew we didn’t want to do is a parody of the original movie, and I think some people were, and maybe still are, expecting it to be like ‘Book of Mormon,’ where we’re making fun of the movie…We were drawn to the heart of the movie, to its emotional quality. We just wanted to give it justice and put it on stage in a new way… We give the characters a bit of a back story. How did Rocky get that way? Why is Adrian the way she is? Who said what to damage them,” Ahrens said. “The movie relies a lot on these long gazes and moody shots where no one says anything, which is what film can do so well. But in the theater, you have to explore what’s happening behind the look… I’ve never had a show ever that had this kind of reaction. We’ve had hits and flops, but I’ve never had an audience become so engrossed in two humble characters and get so wrapped up in them. By the time the big fight comes at the end of the show, you can feel that the audience cares so much about the two of them. We’ve had people standing and screaming, and they’re chanting ‘Rocky, Rocky.’ I’ve never had that before. It makes us hopeful and also terrified, which you are for every show anyway.It is sort of like being back in that movie house and watching this little film ‘Rocky’. Now that same reaction is happening on Broadway, and that’s very moving to me and very miraculous.”

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