If you came to see the gorilla, you will certainly see a gorilla.
Broadway Theater’s premiere of the 1932 novel and 1933 movie “King Kong” opened November 8th of last year and runs for about 2 hours and 30 minutes. Indeed, you may think the casting director made monumental decisions in their selections of the leading actress and the diverse ensemble. The part of Ann Darrow was given to Christiani Pitts, an African American actress, and provides an alternative to the stereotypical blonde white portrayal in the gorilla’s clench. Pitts was a wonderful fit for Darrow and certainly expanded the theatrical vision of her character.
But everyone, of course, came to see the King.
The 2,000-pound gorilla drew attention away from the singing and acting of Darrow and Eric William Morris’s portrayal of conceded filmmaker Carl Denham. Expected or not by the directors and musical writers as they were putting together the show, but this fact certainly was the reality of my experience.
I wanted to like the show beyond the technology and graphics behind the gorilla’s performance, but unfortunately, witnessing the twenty-foot technological construction of an animal grabbing a woman and running through the streets of New York was the main hit. Frankly, the performance should have remained a movie and novel. Many stories are moving to Broadway to be made into musical today. But, if the original concept did not include songs, it should be preserved in that way, in that original form. Perhaps “King Kong” could have been a play, not a musical. But, the beauty of the film and novel should not have been extracted by Broadway’s idea to create songs out of thin air when they will not be given any deserved credit. All attention on the animal!
I suggest seeing “King Kong," though, if you want to see the amazing gorilla! It’s certainly a sight to take in.