Local School Beats Wild Odds — Much Like Mr. Balboa Did — Gaining Rights for First Post-Broadway Run of ‘Rocky’

boys boxing
Image via Heather Khalifa at The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Aidan Kinniry (r), plays Rocky Balboa in the Truman High School production of "Rocky the Musical."

Broadway’s Rocky the Musical will transition from its run in Manhattan to Truman High School, Levittown. The direct transferal of a high-budget, first-run show to a cast and crew of nonunion teenagers is highly unusual. But that twist, reported by Jane M. Von Bergen for The Philadelphia Inquirer, fits this boxing tale of underdog success hand-in-glove.

Rocky the Musical opened abroad in 2012. It came to Broadway in 2014, lasted a few months, and quietly closed.

In the audience for one of its 188 performances were Lou Volpe and Tracey Gatte from the Truman High School theater program. When the licensing rights for Rocky the Musical were announced, they pounced, eager to bring the Philly-area Cinderella story Bucks County.

They were unfortunately TKO’d by the Walnut Street Theater, which opted the show for its 2020–2021 season.

COVID-19’s below-the-belt hit to live theater paused the Walnut’s plans, a decision that sent the rights to the next in line: Truman.

Gloving-up for the title role is senior Aidan Kinniry. He’s been fight-training at Litz’s gym, in Bristol Borough, to convincingly navigate the boxing choreography — jab, hook, cross — without injury.

“Rocky has been an inspiration for me as an underdog figure,” said Kinniry. “I’ve come from a lot of rough situations.”

More information on Rocky the Musical — including ticket details and show dates/times — is at The Philadelphia Inquirer.

This promo video highlights the Broadway version of “Rocky the Musical”;
the local version, adhering to the same script and score, will have its own look, feel, and cast.

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