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King Kong Is Finally Coming to Broadway Following Run in Australia

King King on Broadway
James Morgan/Global Creatures via Getty Images

The giant, menacing ape from the jungle is, at last, bound for Broadway. A production of King Kong, first staged in Melbourne, Australia, is set to land on the Great White Way in the fall of 2018.

The original show, which ran in 2013, received raves for its spectacular title character’s appearance, but critics weren’t so keen on the actual story. So the show was revamped over the last few years to get it in top shape for a New York run. According to the New York Times, the script is currently being reworked by Jack Thorne, co-writer of the West End blockbuster Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (which is also set for a 2018 Broadway debut.)

So how exactly do they manage to portray the massive creature live onstage? The 20-foot-tall beast performs via a combination of puppetry, infrared technology, human performers and robotics. Kong himself was designed by an Australian animatronics company.

Here’s a look at the gargantuan primate onstage:

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The producers don’t refer to the show as a musical, though there are songs and a musical accompaniment. Kong does make sounds, voiced by an actor, but he doesn’t speak or sing (though that could be incredibly cool or, more likely, horrifyingly awful).

“It isn’t a conventional musical but it certainly still has all the elements of a musical,” the show’s lead producer, Carmen Pavlovic, told the Times. “There is a full orchestra, there are people singing, but there are also great tracks of lyricless score.”

We’ll go with “cautiously optimistic” on this one. It’s the kind of experience that, if done right, could be mesmerizing and unforgettable. But if King Kong isn’t actually scary, if it’s plainly obvious that a bunch of dudes are just moving him around on ropes, then this production will be a dud. Kind of hard to see how it could be anywhere in-between, but we’ll give it the old wait-and-see. In the meantime, we’ll book our tickets for Frozen.

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