Fuzzy kong
New York | 2h 25m | Open run

King Kong (NYC)

From 49 critic and 257 member reviews
Members say: Great staging, Ambitious, Entertaining, Disappointing, Epic

About the show

One of the world’s most epic modern myths comes to Broadway in this new musical that employs an innovative mix of robotics, puppet, and stagecraft to bring the legendary ape to life. More…

Follow an ambitious young actress and a maverick filmmaker as they voyage from the bustling streets of 1930s New York to an uncharted island to capture the greatest wonder the world has ever seen. At the center of this 21st-century reimagining: a 2,000-pound gorilla brought roaring to life by a team of seamlessly integrated artists and technicians. A larger-than-life encounter with a legend that’s always been too big to contain. Written by Jack Thorne ('Harry Potter and the Cursed Child'), directed and choreographed by Olivier Award winner Drew McOnie, with a new score by Marius de Vries ('La La Land') and Eddie Perfect ('Strictly Ballroom').  




88
Front Row Center

“A visual feast...And it’s not all about the two-thousand pound gorilla in the room. Although his presence is magnificent, the entire production team has been touched by magic and the marvels start when the curtain rises...Unfortunately, the story is identical to the original movie and is still as weak and ridiculous...There’s a very endearing big gorilla with sad, expressive eyes who I guarantee you will fall in love with. And there’s amazing, innovative stagecraft. And that’s enough for me.” Full Review

85
Theater Pizzazz

"This is the underlying strength of the production: The extreme ability of the creator and well-trained handlers to actually elicit a sense of emotion through a puppet and with a message...Christiani Pitts is a highly energized spitfire with a soaring voice and the huge cast is remarkable...Maybe it’s just good to have an old iconic story unite with a more contemporary touch and as a reminder at a time when kindness, caring, and gentility should be at the forefront of everyone’s agenda." Full Review

85
Philadelphia Inquirer

"A knockout of a show, managing to move us to sympathy, scare us, and dazzle us with stagecraft all at once. To praise the show as a 'musical' might be a slight exaggeration, since the songs aren’t much good — neither tuneful nor interesting — and the singers and dancers are only adequate. Which leaves us with the star of the show, King Kong, a stunning example of 'extreme puppetry'...I imagine that there will be those who scoff, but I had too much fun.” Full Review

80
New York Theater

"If this 'King Kong' resists camp, there are several savory moments of meta-theatrical wit...The songs by Eddie Perfect are an appealing, eclectic mix of jazz, Broadway ballad and pop, brought home by a talented ensemble executing some some catchy if standard Broadway choreography...Perfect’s songs are perfectly adequate, but I’ll go further: They are the right fit...The effort to bring that puppet to life is extraordinary, unprecedented, and the payoff is glorious." Full Review

75
scribicide

"Anyone complaining about the music in 'King Kong' is missing the point...Some of the most impressive stagecraft I have seen in years. At twenty feet and two thousand pounds, Kong is massive, towering over the stage while still registering subtle fluctuations in emotion through his brow, his nose, his upper lip. Of course, he roars, too, and thunderously so, but it's the level of detail at such a large scale that is most breathtaking." Full Review

75
Limelight Magazine (AU)

"McOnie has done a remarkable job staging this blockbuster. The movement, in theory his specialty, is deeply rooted in character and frequently thrilling...And the monkey? Well, he’s as impressive as he ever was – perhaps even more so...Jack Thorne‘s dialogue is convincingly written – or as convincing as dialogue can be in a tale that demands a sizeable suspension of disbelief." Full Review

75
New Yorker

“Kong is the show’s true star. He’s huge, muscular, and bottomlessly dark—all black and gray. His hands and feet are operated, in minutest detail, by a small, dancerly army, and his face moves via uncannily precise—and, I’ll admit, touching...There aren’t any instantly classic songs in the show, which makes it unlikely to be a long-lasting item of interest, but it’s fun simply because of Kong’s presence. The audience laughed and gasped...We whooped when he stood to his full height." Full Review

70
Variety

"One thrill ride of a show...The show disappoints in its mishmash of musical styles...You could say Kong has one of the best 11 o’clock numbers around when he approaches the apron of the stage to break through...There’s also more than a few cliches, and a set-up that’s a stretch...But Thorne also makes some smart choices...It’s not just the mammoth Kong that helps carry the show but also Pitts, who plays the marathon role of Ann with infinite resilience and resolve." Full Review

70
Daily Beast

"The problem with 'King Kong' is that the humans on stage do not know what to do when King Kong is elsewhere, and the production doesn’t know what to do with them either...As pure spectacle, 'King Kong' thrillingly delivers. The songs are fine rather than memorable and the story simple and fluent rather than dense and chewy. But really, neither has to do much more. This is all about the hulking, crouching, flying, not-very-hidden King Kong­—and the ape has totally got this." Full Review

70
NewNowNext.com

"Mixes remarkable wizardry with musical theater imperfection, though it’s way better than most of the pretentious critics are letting on...The sets and projections by Peter England are darkly splashy, though the score doesn’t always soar and some dullness sets in before the ape appears. But then he does!...Take this for what it is—a tourist-friendly spectacle with some memorable monkey business." Full Review

70
Slate.com

"The two-story, two-ton puppet star is a fearsome marvel...Generally speaking, when the ape’s onstage, flirting with his new friend Ann or battling a sickly snake, 'King Kong' rules. When he’s not, it’s a very occasionally inspired musical about a plucky star to be trying to make it in New York in the Depression. Director-choreographer Drew McOnie’s staging tends to clutter the production numbers." Full Review

70
Florida Theater On Stage

"'King Kong' is amazing, both the creature and the show. Its flaws and shortcomings as a musical are impossible to ignore, but as spectacle and entertainment, only someone who revels in dissing whatever is popular would deny that 'King Kong' is a jaw-dropping experience...This is not a E-ticket thrill ride, but a fine work of theatrical stagecraft and skill...The acting, directing, and the script...all are very much 21st Century...It just clashes distractingly with the time period." Full Review

70
JK's Theatre Scene

"For sheer entertainment value, 'King Kong' would get an A+ from me. It is exciting, thrilling, funny, and even a little scary. And that ape. Wow!...As a musical, it is both lacking and way too much...Thorne's book is both well-done and silly...The bottom line is I found myself both laughing with it and laughing at it. That said, there's much to appreciate here...Director Drew McOnie creates some truly spectacular stage pictures." Full Review

65
Theatermania

"Say what you will about 'King Kong,' but it's nonstop entertainment, even when it's campier than a giant gorilla at a rave. It's actually impressive how book writer Jack Thorne managed to take an already ridiculous story and make it goofier through halfhearted feints at social relevance...Gavin Robins has masterfully directed an immediate team of 10 puppeteers who surround Kong...In a story devoid of heroes, these fearless performers come the closest." Full Review

65
CurtainUp

"De Vries' ponderous score is a mish-mash of styles but it does have its moments, Perfect's songs are tuneful but hardly memorable; neither do they do much to further the story...The effort to extend Kong's long symbolic parallels to racism, slavery and colonialism to our current society's endorsement of racism and greed feels forced and clunky, whereas the presentation of the giant marionette puppet is amazingly original and genuinely entertaining." Full Review

65
Deadline

"Director Drew McOnie has captured a wildly impressive 1.2-ton puppet, even if the musical surrounding it is considerably less memorable...Kong’s facial expressions – every teeth-baring show of force, each wary look of confused affection, moans of pain – are enchanting, and at least as convincing as any bit of CGI or stop-motion committed to film...The musical numbers certainly won’t keep you from wanting to get to the Kong stuff, which mostly pays off." Full Review

60
Broadway News

"Remove the big, strangely beautiful beast from the show, and the musical would collapse from its own weightlessness. The human characters would be swallowed up by the (admittedly spectacular) scenery...One of the show’s highlights — really, the only one other than the titular creature — is the work of set and projections designer Peter England...But it’s only when King Kong makes his entrance that 'King Kong' inspires anything other than mild tedium." Full Review

60
AM New York

"It is just as technically innovative and absolutely ridiculous as you would expect a stage musical adaptation of 'King Kong' to be...Perfect’s pop-style songs are embarrassingly insipid. Far preferable is the background underscoring provided by Marius de Vries. The dialogue is flat...That being said, Kong is a wonder of contemporary stagecraft...Kong (although built out of steel and fiberglass) is a living, feeling creature giving one of the best performances on Broadway." Full Review

60
Talkin' Broadway

"The great ape is magnificent...Indeed, all of the design elements, from the inventive use of projections, the curvature of the set, the sound, the lighting, even the scrims, contribute to the overall effect. If this is what you are looking for, then by all means pick up a ticket and head on out...One big question is, why turn this perfectly good story into a musical, especially when the songs and the dancing do precious little to elucidate the goings-on?" Full Review

60
The Wrap

"That he’s a puppet only makes his performance all the more riveting. But he/it has an advantage over the human actors on stage. Kong doesn’t sing one song composed by Eddie Perfect or utter one word written by Jack Thorne...As designed by Sonny Tilders, Kong is a genuine marvel that requires no fewer than 10 people to operate its limbs, torso and, most amazingly, facial features...Whenever the story line lags, which is most of the time, your attention goes to those 10 puppeteers." Full Review

60
The Hollywood Reporter

"Even if the star puppet might be better suited for an arena spectacle or theme-park attraction, you can't take your eyes off this technological marvel, not least for its incredible facial expressiveness...This is a rare time I can honestly say that while 'King Kong' the musical is a wretched mess, I would recommend 'King Kong' the stage spectacle...This is a show in which the songs never feel grounded in story or character, let alone period." Full Review

60
NY1

"By musical theatre standards, it falls short. The music, book, choreography — fairly mediocre. But target audiences are likely coming for one thing, and that thing stands mighty tall...The effects are astonishing thanks to an army of handlers who manipulate practically every inch of Kong's 2,400-pound body...Thorne offers a truncated story with structural holes and loose ends. Perfect's pop songs aren't bad, but they feel wedged in and disconnected, almost like a jukebox musical." Full Review

60
Broadway Blog

“’King Kong’s’ greatest accomplishment is in its most intimate moments when we can revel in the animatronic wonder of Kong’s facial expressions. Those larger-than-life sad eyes will melt your heart, a reminder of what King Kong has long represented...racism and oppression. But when Kong has to run...no amount of technology or actors can...make it believable. Instead, he lumbers along, as if he’s stumbled out of Rudy’s dive bar...after one too many...wishing, like us, that this was all a dream.” Full Review

60
The Stage (UK)

"Though the ape is great the score is wan and the plot a head-scratcher making for an incoherent theatrical experience...The human side of the story struggles to measure up...McOnie’s choreography makes use of a hulking upper-body dance language that feels ultra-contemporary and is also at odds with the 1931 setting...If this 'King Kong' was over-the-top in a campy way, all this might not matter as much. Instead it feels painfully sincere. Only the ape’s expressive presence rescues it." Full Review

60
Newsday

"As grand spectacle, 'King Kong' is the real deal, the heart-stopping special effects beyond expectations...This is truly next-gen puppetry, as the actors known as the King Company, in ninja mode, breathe life into this hunk of steel and Fiberglass. But when Kong leaves the stage, so does the energy...Director-choreographer Drew McOnie and songwriters Eddie Perfect and Marius de Vries muddy the waters with numbers that seem out of place and are at times downright confusing." Full Review


100
Ambitious, Must see, Entertaining, Great staging, Amazing ape!

See it if ...you can check all expectations at the door and are willing to go along for this magnificent ride. Don’t miss this ape!

Don't see it if ...you’re bitter, beyond jaded, you can’t overlook a weak book and you want to remember at least one song when you’re walking out the door.

89
Ambitious, Entertaining, Great staging, Kong is king

See it if You like special effects and staging and want to see the latest thing in technology. King Kong come to life is fabulous!!

Don't see it if you're expecting a wonderful score and only see musicals that win Tony Awards. Or if you're a snob.

Also I have loved King Kong ever since I was a little girl and watched him ... Read more Read less

85
Exciting, Great writing, Great singing, Great staging, Surprising

See it if you're looking for a show that's all about spectacle that also has more substance than it has any right to have.

Don't see it if you have no sense of wonder.

83
Riveting, Great singing, Spectacular, Amazing puppetry, Not a great score

See it if You want a spectacle-filled Broadway experience - the Kong puppet is incredible.

Don't see it if You've got high expectations for a strong book/score - I didn't leave humming any tunes, but the puppet was worth it!

80
Ambitious, Quirky, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you want something different from “normal” Broadway or just looking for a fun evening. Kong is impressive!

Don't see it if you need show-stopping songs, heart-wrenching acting or consider yourself a “purist”.

Also I’m so glad that I rarely read reviews from those who get paid to revi... Read more Read less

80
Epic, Must see, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You want to see the latest and greatest in theatre arts. The tech in this show will blow your mind.

Don't see it if You are looking for the next Hamilton. It's King Kong after all.

Also I went in with low expectations after reading reviews here and I have ... Read more Read less

80
Ambitious, Intense, Masterful, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you want to see the BEST puppetry work ever been on Broadway.

Don't see it if you're looking for a deep and complicated story.

79
Clever, Entertaining, Overlong, Great technology, Great puppet

See it if you like theme parks' rides and want to see great technology.

Don't see it if you expect "theatre"; it's pure spectacle

Also I wish the creators had made this production a silent 90 minute play. ... Read more Read less

78
Ambitious, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You like Broadway musicals, great staging/projection, or puppetry. The singing/dancing are typically Broadway great. The puppet is amazing.

Don't see it if Story's a little thin and there's an emotional beat right before the denouement that's unearned. But seriously, the puppet's the thing here.

78
Clever, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You want to see great techno and fabulous staging.

Don't see it if No reason not to see it. Worth seeing for the staging alone.

76
Ambitious, Epic, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You want to see King Kong, the giant puppet, come alive on stage. Definitely an amazing spectacle and quite a breakthrough for Broadway!

Don't see it if You are looking for an excellent or memorable score, you want an impressive ending (songs and ending fall flat)

75
Ambitious, Must see, Banal, Entertaining, Fluffy

See it if You like to be dazzled by stage of the art stage effects. if high spectacle and movie quality special effects live on stage are your thing.

Don't see it if You can't get passed the fact that the music is indeed terrible.

75
Ambitious, Slow, Great staging

See it if you want to see what will probably be the largest puppet to ever grace a Broadway stage. King Kong himself was amazing.

Don't see it if you really want a musical with stellar music and a dramatic plot. It is King Kong after all.

74
Absorbing, Entertaining, Great stagecraft

See it if You want to see a spectacular beast come to life

Don't see it if maybe not the greatest musical ever but Kong is worth the trip

72
Ambitious, Disappointing, Great staging

See it if You want to see a masterful larger-than-life puppet. There are some unique elements that make the show worthwhile.

Don't see it if You want more than the spectacle. The music starts of great-1930s vibe, but drops off to talk-singing and even oddly placed rap.

72
Ambitious, Entertaining, Crap score, Astounding puppetry, Weak leads

See it if To see Kong! The puppetry is absolutely amazing. It's the only reason to see the show. And the set was cool when not overrun by LED screens.

Don't see it if You want strong leads & decent score. Music couldn't pick a genre & blatantly ripped off well-known songs. Lead characters/actors were weak.

Also The one and only reason to see this show is for the puppetry, plain an... Read more Read less

71
Great staging, Weak score, Weak plot, Energetic dancing

See it if technology is your thing. The gorilla's handlers make his moves terrific. Christiani Pitts is excellent & could use better material.

Don't see it if You enjoy a strong plot and a good score.

70
Enchanting, Banal, Entertaining, Great staging, Fluffy

See it if Kong is amazing!

Don't see it if You want great music and singing and dancing.

70
Disappointing, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You want to see an experience, the Kong puppetry/robotics is awesome. The staging is amazing.

Don't see it if You expect a great show. Parts are good, but overall the scenery and Kong are the best parts.

70
Absorbing, Intense, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a big technical set and puppetry that is beyond what you would expect from anything you have ever seen.

Don't see it if you are expecting a memorable score or astonishing acting performances.

Also The show is entertaining. The lead actress who protrays Ann is good an... Read more Read less

69
Ambitious, Entertaining, Great staging, All about kong, Interesting visuals

See it if Kong the creature is the real deal, bigger than life, expressive, spectacular. Creative puppetry with hard working puppeteers. Good dancers

Don't see it if your interest is good singing, music acting and script. The creators were so focused on Kong they forgot about the rest of the play.

Also Not a well rounded play. It needs better music and lyrics as well as a... Read more Read less

69
Bad songs. bad dances. bad script. great ape!

See it if you want to be truly amazed and awestruck by Kong himself; if great spectacle allows you to have fun and forgive everything else.

Don't see it if you can't enjoy the spectacle because you can't get past the music and script.

67
Clever, Indulgent, Disappointing, Cliched, Slow

See it if You like theme parks, special effects. A marvelous puppet robot of huge proportions. Don’t care about original ideas.

Don't see it if You demand fleshed out characters. Prefer songs that stay in your head and mind. Accept dazzling special effects instead of human emotion

65
Ambitious, Epic, Banal, Disappointing, Extraordinary puppetry

See it if you want to be wowed by amazing puppetry and scenic design.

Don't see it if you're hoping for anything more than the puppet.

Also Despite the efforts of the dancers and a lovely turn by Christiani Pit... Read more Read less

64
Ambitious, Disappointing, Slow, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if u think this adds up to a night out: Kong 95, sets/projections 85, music 55, lyrics 45, book 35. There's more to rate but it won't be good.

Don't see it if you don't want to suffer some really bad stuff to experience a pretty damn impressive puppet. Wish Kong were avail as an exhibit solo.


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Cast & Creatives (43)