Wax on Broadway.
After etching itself into the hearts of movie fans forever, “The Karate Kid” franchise is onto the next frontier — the big stage. That’s right, the original 1984 movie scribe Robert Mark Kamen is working on a musical inspired by the film series — with the goal of bringing it to Broadway.
Director Amon Miyamoto (“Pacific Overtures”) said in a statement that he was inspired to do a stage adaptation “because it tells a story we need in this ongoing ‘Age of Division’ as our society becomes increasingly globalized.”
The musical theater version will reportedly stick to the semi-autobiographical 1984 script of the first film that made Ralph Macchio a household name and earned Pat Morita an Oscar nomination, the Los Angeles Times reported. The original “Karate Kid” depicted the saga of LA-outsider Daniel San (Macchio), who learns karate from aging Japanese sensei Mr. Miyagi (Morita) so he can fight off his high school bullies.
Of course, the musical won’t be a carbon copy. Producer Kumiko Yoshii told Entertainment Weekly, “we are reinventing how it is told so that it must be experienced live, in the theater.” To accomplish this feat, Kamen’s production will feature lyrics by Drew Gasparini of “Night Shift” fame and choreography from MTV VMA nominees Keone and Mari Madrid. In the director’s chair will be the aforementioned Miyamoto, who became Broadway’s first-ever Japanese director with the release of “Pacific Overtures” in 2004. The Tony Award-winning Derek McLane will be in charge of set design.
Despite not being a “big musical-theater person,” Kamen told the LA Times “[the production] is is the most collaborative thing I’ve ever done, and I’ve had the best time.”
Still, reinventing the story for the theater crowd could prove difficult in a market saturated with “Karate Kid” spinoffs. Over the years, the original flick spawned three sequels — the first two which were directed by Kamen — a kids’ cartoon series, and a 2009 reboot starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith. Most recently, Youtube Red released “Cobra Kai,” a spinoff series pitting Macchio against his former on-screen nemesis William Zakba (Johnny Lawrence).
“I never dreamed that this movie would have the life it’s had,” Kamen told the La Times.
Production dates and the cast list will be announced at a later date.