I woke up at 2:30 AM, unable to sleep and assuming the trouble was the six gallon cocktail of coffee and hot tea that I must drink each day to keep my playwright's engine functioning. But could it be that I was awoken by something more primal? Something, perhaps, like the far-away awakening of a great, rumbling beast? You know—like a big monkey?
At 10 PM last night, the producers of the new Australian musical King Kong—yes, that Kong—rolled out their creative team in what the press release called "an unprecedented . . . one-time only event presentation." Why the American press push for a show that opens a year from now in Melbourne? I can only take it to mean that the people at Global Creatures are as serious as their ridiculous website suggests. Playbill has a summary of the press release—salient details below.
I'm intrigued, primarily, by the Australian-ness of the whole project. The composer is Marius de Vries, of Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge fame. The production company, aside from being responsible for the seemingly quite impressive How To Train Your Dragon, are also working on a stage adaptation of Luhrman's Strictly Ballroom—a personal favorite of mine. And the score will feature "new and existing" songs from Sarah McLachlan, Massive Attack's Robert Del Naja, Justice and The Avalanches. Remember The Avalanches? An Australian band, had an odd hit in 2000 with Frontier Psychiatrist? Man, I thought that song was so cool when I was a kid—and darn if the video doesn't have some flair. Switch the curtain at the beginning to red instead of gold and that could be a Baz Luhrman musical right there.
(Waitaminute—Marius de Vries? Sounds an awful lot like Roger de Bris, whose dress, of course, made him look like the Chrysler Building—just the sort of building King Kong liked to climb on! See? It all comes back to The Producers!)
As nifty as all that is, the press release sold me as soon as I heard the words, "the most technologically advanced puppet in the world—a one-tonne, six-metre giant silverback." I woke up the boys in the Metric Conversion Lab to calculate that six "metres" is, "oh, we don't know. Around eighteen feet or whatever." That's only half as big as the ape was really supposed to be, but hey, pretty damned tall.
Not impressed? Because I'm over five feet tall and have an allergy to the Izod Center, I wasn't allowed to see How to Train Your Dragon. But have you seen clips?
That shit is awesome. It's either the late night, the lack of sleep, or my natural ten year-oldness, but I'm calling it now—King Kong will be too.
In more immediate news,The Front is on TCM. I'm gonna go see how Woody stacks up next to the great ape.