“Rocky Is a Broadway Knockout”: The Rocky Broadway Musical Reviews Are In

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The Rocky Broadway musical opened on Thursday night, and the reviews are in. I saw the very first preview of the show back in February, and I saw Rocky again on Wednesday with my mom. Mom’s Rocky review: “I absolutely loved it. I highly recommend it.” Not all the critics feel the same way.

I enjoyed the first preview (as I wrote in this early Rocky review), and I liked round two even more. Yes, Rocky generally improved between those two showings, but part of the reason that my second experience was better was the location of my seats.




At the first Rocky show, I sat in the "Golden Circle" seating, and the gimmick of those seats is that you get to walk on stage and sit on bleachers, facing the rest of the audience, for the climactic (and I do mean climactic) ending. These are not the best seats in the house. For the most exhilarating Rocky viewing experience, you'll want to sit ten to twenty rows from the stage, or near the front of the balcony. Just remember: if you do get blood on you, it washes out with soap and water.

Below, a roundup of the Rocky Broadway reviews.

New York Times Rocky review:
"The creators of 'Rocky' the musical - which features a book by Thomas Meehan and Mr. Stallone, and songs by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, with Alex Timbers as the director - have perhaps gone overboard in capitalizing on this legend… an all-out, multimedia assault on the senses…"

Variety Rocky review:
"No mystery about where the $16.5 million capital investment went in this musical iteration of the 1976 movie that made an iconic hero of Rocky Balboa… Looks like it was worth every penny."

Huffington Post Rocky review:
"Rocky is a Broadway knockout...People who diss Rocky because it's old-fashioned and predictable are right. It's sort of a construction worker's Raging Bull with Kleenex. But the people who love Rocky are right, too, because it's likeable and decent in a basic way that makes you glow. You go away from Rocky hugely entertained, with a song in your soul and hope in your heart."

Chicago Tribune Rocky review:
"It's hard to overstate the achievements of [the] concluding fight, which is the reason 'Rocky' has the aroma of a long-term Broadway survivor. It's an exceedingly deft and artful fusion of real boxing moves with sleight of hand."

Washington Post Rocky review:
"...the most exhilarating sports choreography you’re likely to experience in a theater."

Entertainment Weekly Rocky review:
"Even so, Rocky delivers edge-of-your-seat thrills — particularly in the final 15 minutes — that underscore the fact that fans of boxing and live theater share some DNA: They love to see their stars battered, bloodied, but still standing."

The Hollywood Reporter Rocky review:
"For a show that on many levels is a miss, that climactic sequence is a thrilling knockout… if marketed successfully, 'Rocky' could become for boys and their dads what 'Wicked' is to the girl contingent."

For Rocky tickets, visit RockyBroadway.com.

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  • Joseph Gambardello

    NY Times also says it has no pulse for 2 hours and 10 minutes.

  • Mark Cofta

    Ahh, just what the world needed: another expensive musical based not on an original idea, but on a movie. How creative, how fresh! I wish Philadelphia would calm down about it. The writers changed South Philly to “Southside,” which shows you how much they know or care about our city. We don’t own Rocky and we are not Rocky; they filmed here for 10 days nearly 40 years ago. Stallone ran up some steps. Get over it.

    • vfiorillo

      “South Philly celebrity” doesn’t have the same ring to it.