It may never have occurred to the creators of King Kong - producers and directors Merion C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, and screenwriter Ruth Rose - nor to my mother, Fay Wray, the damsel in distress in the iconic 1933 movie, that the giant ape would still be captivating, and capturing, New York audiences 85 years later. But last week as I walked around the city -- there he was, on billboards and posters everywhere.
Welcome back, sir!
Kong has emerged from his long retirement to open in a new $35,000,000 musical on Broadway on November 8. Having seen a preview, I have no doubt his appearance will be as successful as his last, somewhat unfortunate visit to a New York stage 85 years ago. Here he is in all his dramatic and gigantic glory - an enormous man-made gorilla brilliantly maneuvering around the stage with the help of athletic puppeteers working with wires and ropes to the astonishment of a rapt, cheering audience. His movements, gestures, facial expressions, emotions - all are uncannily realistic, even human.
This time Ann Darrow is played by an effervescent young woman, Christiani Pitts, who is feistier and more independent than any of her predecessors. She wins your heart. I went backstage to wish her and the cast well and received the nicest, warmest greeting imaginable from her and the rest of the talented cast and crew.