We have musicals like West Side Story, Oklahoma, Fiddler On The Roof, Singing In The Rain. But hang on to your crane kick, because The Karate Kid is about to become a musical. So will we see a Mr. Miagi force ghost in the musical?
Entertainment Weekly broke the story today that Broadway will be crane kicking, karate chopping, and kicking someone in the face to Broadway.
Kamen will be in charge of penning the script, its Drew Gasparini who will write the production’s music and lyrics. Also joining the creative team is MTV VMA nominees Keone and Mari Madrid, who will oversee choreography for the show, with Derek McLane handling set design. Last but certainly not least, Amon Miyamoto, who in 2004 became Broadway’s first Japanese director with his Pacific Overtures production, will direct.
“On June 13, 1982, my daughter Alessandra (Ali with an i) was born,” Kamen told EW. “Two days later, when she arrived home from the hospital, I sat down with her in one of those little rocking cradles at my side, and began to write The Karate Kid. A year later, in October of 1983, principal photography began. A year after that, in June of 1984, exactly two years after I wrote the script, the film was in theaters. And there it stayed for nearly six months. Five sequels and two television shows later, amazingly the characters and the story still resonates with audiences the way it did when the film first was released. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this little movie would reach across generations the way it has. And beyond my wildest dreams did I think what started out as a love letter to my devotion to Okinawan Karate and the man who taught me would become a full-blown Broadway musical. But here it is. Here I am. And here is hoping that what comes to the stage brings the same joy and relevance The Karate Kid has brought to countless kids and their parents for the past 35 years. Go figure.”
THE ORIGINAL KARATE KID starred Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi and Ralph Macchio as Daniel Larusso, a teen who upon moving to a new town, finds himself at the mercy of boys trained in the art of karate. Before long, Daniel enlists Mr. Miyagi as his sensei, and thus begins his journey toward learning to defend himself against bullies. In time, Daniel learns that there’s far more to the martial arts form than fighting.
Believe it or not the original actually paved the way for five sequels, and including a 2010 remake starring Will Smith’s son Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan,
and a YouTube series titled COBRA KAI, which stars Macchio and William Zabka as Daniel’s nemesis, Johnny Lawrence.
When it comes to adapting THE KARATE KID for the stage, the musical’s producer Kumiko Yoshii says “Robert’s story is our Bible,” though he also cautioned “we are reinventing how it is told so that it must be experienced live, in the theater.”
“Many people love Broadway musicals for ‘escape,’ but I love them because they provide insight into how we should live our lives,” Miyamoto said. “I was inspired to do a stage adaptation of The Karate Kid because it tells a story we need in this on-going ‘Age of Division’ as our society becomes increasingly globalized. The sweet contradiction of The Karate Kid is that the real nature of karate is, as the show says, ‘not for attack.’ Not to hurt, not to win, but to let opposing energies play out and come in grace to a conclusion that allows dignity and respect for all. I’m excited to show this dynamic with a visual and movement style unseen on Broadway. I want to introduce a new generation to this powerful story — through the immediate, visceral spell a good musical can cast through theatricality, music, and dance.”
So are you excited about a Karate Kid Broadway musical? As for me I’m not sure how it’s going to look on stage singing as someone gets kicked in the face, but we will just have to wait and see.