Rocky the Musical is here

It was a big announcement for fans of the classic boxing movie series Rocky…and, I hate it when I’m right…but I did say this “Hollywood” year would be the year of musicals.

So it seems appropriate that the film’s diminutive creator and star Sylvester Stallone was dwarfed by the world’s heavyweight boxing champions as he revealed it was being made into a musical.

Sly posed for pictures alongside the giant Klitschko brothers as he revealed the show will premiere in Hamburg, Germany in November 2012.

And while the announcement itself was exciting enough, there was even more intrigue added by a selection of pictures taken to promote the upcoming show.

While the Rambo star height is listed as 5′ 9.5″ in his official biography, observers have often said he is closer to 5′ 7″ or even 5′ 6″ in real life.

His latest public appearance gave more ammo to believers of the latter, with a series of publicity photos that seem designed to disguise his height.

Some may even claim the shots taken outside, which are cut off at the legs, suggest he has stolen a trick from jockey Willie Carson and is standing on a box.

However pictures taken within the city’s Operettenhaus theatre, with the Ukrainian stars standing a couple of rows behind the star in an attempt to gloss over the height differential, were particularly glaring.

No doubt standing next to the giant eastern Europeans gave Sly flashbacks to the fourth film in the franchise, where Rocky Balboa went toe to toe with giant Russian Ivan Drago.

Of course, even if Stallone’s official biography is true, he is still far short of measuring up the boxing brothers.

Elder brother Vitali is 6′ 7″, while his younger brother Wladimir is an impressive 6′ 6″.

Between them the brothers hold all of the belts in the heavyweight devision, with Wladimir completing their collection by thrashing David Haye in July to take his WBA title.

The duo are producing the show, and are also going to train the show’s lead actor in an attempt to make him more believable on stage.

But Sylvester said he will also be taking an active role in preparing the musical’s star.

He said: “I imagine I will be able to help the future star of the show to learn the body language of Rocky and to develop a feeling for the character,.

‘Boxers are always tense, always moving around, and each one has his own characteristics.’

Sly revealed at the press conference that he had always dreamed of turning his Oscar-winning hit into a stage show.

He said: ‘I’ve always thought Rocky had the right stuff for a musical and have wanted to do it for a long time.’

The 65-year-old action star said said he wants the show to focus on the love story between Rocky Balboa and his future wife Adrian, following the lead of Broadway production Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark.

Tony Award-winning songwriter Lynn Ahrens and composer Stephen Flaherty will write the musical score, which will feature the movie’s iconic Gonna Fly Now tune and Survivor favourite Eye of the Tiger.

The German-based boxing stars have a combined professional boxing record of 99 wins and 5 defeats as of September 2011, Vitali having the highest knockout ratio in history.

In addition to his starring role in the franchise, talented Sylvester created the story and directed four of its six installments.

It has been one of the highest grossing film series in history, raking in more than $1.25 billion worldwide.

And he is far from resting on his laurels – he has just completed filming on action flick The Expendables alongside fellow action favourites Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis.

by Helena Bryanlith

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