The stage musical adaptation of ’80s classic The Karate Kid will kick up its world premiere in St. Louis next spring in what producers are calling a pre-Broadway engagement, Deadline reports.
The Karate Kid – The Musical, with a book by original screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen and music and lyrics by Drew Gasparini (Smash), will begin a limited engagement on May 25, 2022, in a Stages St. Louis production at The Kirkwood Performing Arts Center just outside St. Louis, MO. The musical will run through June 26. The production will be directed by Japanese director Amon Miyamoto (Pacific Overtures). Casting for the musical has not yet been announced.
The original Karate Kid film, directed by John G. Avildsen, starred Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita and Elisabeth Shue, with Macchio playing Daniel LaRusso, a bullied teenager schooled in self-defense, karate and life by Morita’s Mr. Miyagi.
The hit 1984 film started a franchise that would grow to include five movies, an animated television series, and Netflix’s Cobra Kai, which will premiere its fourth season in December 2021.
Kamen has been discussing the upcoming musical adaptation of a hit movie, which he describes as being ‘beyond his wildest dreams’.
“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.”
The production’s director, Amon Miyamoto, is equally as excited, saying that the story of The Karate Kid is exactly what we all need in these difficult times.
“Many people love Broadway musicals for ‘escape’ – but I love them because they provide insight into how we should live our lives. 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.”
Producer Kumiko Yoshii added this.
“Our production team is focused on bringing Robert Kamen’s iconic story to a new generation in a way that really speaks to them. Robert’s story is our bible, but we are reinventing how it is told so that it must be experienced live, in the theater.”
Currently there are no production dates or casting information available.