“THE KARATE KID” IS BROADWAY BOUND AS A NEW MUSICAL
FOR RELEASE ON WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 22, 2020
THE TRIUMPHANT STORY THAT INSPIRED A GENERATION
IS BEING DEVELOPED INTO A STAGE MUSICAL
“THE KARATE KID”
IS BROADWAY BOUND
BASED ON THE COLUMBIA PICTURES MOTION PICTURE
DIRECTED BY AMON MIYAMOTO
FEATURING A BOOK BY ROBERT MARK KAMEN
MUSIC AND LYRICS BY DREW GASPARINI
CHOREOGRAPHY BY KEONE AND MARI MADRID
New York, NY / Los Angeles, CA – Kinoshita Group, Kumiko Yoshii, and Michael Wolk announced today simultaneously in New York and Los Angeles that The Karate Kid is being developed for Broadway as a new musical. Based on the smash hit Columbia Pictures motion picture, and featuring a book by the film’s screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen and music and lyrics by Drew Gasparini, The Karate Kid will be directed by renowned Japanese director Amon Miyamoto and choreographed by MTV VMA nominees Keone and Mari Madrid.
When The Karate Kid hit cineplexes in 1984, it became an instant cultural phenomenon earning rave reviews and racking up nearly $100 million at the box office. Featuring now-iconic performances by Ralph Macchio, Noriyuki “Pat” Morita, and Elisabeth Shue, that original film spawned a media franchise that includes a total of five films, an animated television series; and YouTube Premium’s “Cobra Kai,” which is currently in production on its third season. It’s also widely credited with popularizing karate in the United States.
In a statement, Robert Mark Kamen said, “On June 13, 1982, my daughter Alessandra (Ali with an i) was born. Two days later when she arrived home from the hospital, I sat down with her in one of those little rocking cradles at my side, and began to write The Karate Kid. A year later, in October of 1983, principal photography began. A year after that, in June of 1984, exactly two years after I wrote the script, the film was in theaters. And there it stayed for nearly six months. Five sequels and two television shows later, amazingly the characters and the story still resonates with audiences the way it did when the film first was released. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this little movie would reach across generations the way it has. And beyond my wildest dreams did I think what started out as a love letter to my devotion to Okinawan Karate and the man who taught me would become a full-blown Broadway musical. But here it is. Here I am. And here is hoping that what comes to the stage brings the same joy and relevance The Karate Kid has brought to countless kids and their parents for the past 35 years. Go figure.”
“Many people love Broadway musicals for ‘escape’ – but I love them because they provide insight into how we should live our lives,” commented director Amon Miyamoto. “I was inspired to do a stage adaptation of The Karate Kid because it tells a story we need in this on-going ‘Age of Division’ as our society becomes increasingly globalized. The sweet contradiction of The Karate Kid is that the real nature of karate is, as the show says, ‘not for attack.’ Not to hurt, not to win, but to let opposing energies play out and come in grace to a conclusion that allows dignity and respect for all. I’m excited to show this dynamic with a visual and movement style unseen on Broadway. I want to introduce a new generation to this powerful story – through the immediate, visceral spell a good musical can cast through theatricality, music, and dance.”
“Our production team is focused on bringing Robert Kamen’s iconic story to a new generation in a way that really speaks to them,” said producer Kumiko Yoshii. “Robert’s story is our Bible, but we are reinventing how it is told so that it must be experienced live, in the theater. And it’s been a pleasure to see how excited Robert is watching The Karate Kid take on new life through the contributions of Amon and the blossoming talents of our composer Drew Gasparini and our choreographers, Keone and Mari Madrid. Amon has directed musicals and operas throughout Asia, Europe and America, but as someone who lived for years in Okinawa, The Karate Kid is uniquely personal for him. He loved how The Karate Kid and Mr. Miyagi brought an Okinawan sense of spirituality and respect for nature into popular culture, and he is thrilled to be able to share the story anew with a completely fresh take for Broadway.”
The Karate Kid will feature set design by Tony® and two-time Emmy Award® winner Derek McLane. Additional information, including production dates and casting, will be announced at a later date.
Robert Mark Kamen (Book) was born in the Bronx, New York. He graduated from the public school system of that city, received his BA from NYU in Literature, and his Masters and Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. In 1979 he sold the first screenplay he ever wrote to Warner Bros. Over the past 40 years Robert has written 23 feature films among them: Taps; The Karate Kid 1, 2, 3, and 5; The Power of One; Lethal Weapon 3; A Walk In The Clouds; The Fifth Element; Transporter 1, 2, 3; Taken 1, 2, 3. With the proceeds from his first screenplay, Robert purchased 300 acres of raw land in Sonoma California in the Mayacamas Mountains overlooking the San Francisco Bay. In 1980 he planted a 50 acre organic vineyard on the land, which today produces highly regarded Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah wines.
Drew Gasparini (Music and Lyrics) is an award-winning composer/lyricist and singer/songwriter. Currently, Drew is working on musical adaptations of the movies The Karate Kid (for Gorgeous Entertainment), and Night Shift for Warner Bros Theatre Ventures. Alongside writing partner Alex Brightman, Drew is writing musical adaptations of It’s Kind of a Funny Story for Universal Theatrical Group, and the children’s novel The Whipping Boy. In 2019 Drew wrote the score for the highly publicized Super Bowl advertising stunt, Skittles Commercial: The Musical starring Michael C. Hall. The show went on to win several advertising awards and was voted #1 best Super Bowl ad of 2019 by Forbes. His new musical We Aren’t Kids Anymore will be releasing its cast album this spring. Drew is signed to Concord Music Publishing, and alongside his two sisters he is one-third of the band Saint Adeline. For more on Drew – Twitter/Instagram: @drewgasparini
Amon Miyamoto (Director) works internationally across a wide range of genres, including musicals, plays, operas, kabuki and more. In 1987, he made his directorial debut with his original musical I Got Merman, which portrayed Broadway star Ethel Merman’s life, and received the National Arts Festival Award of the Agency for Cultural Affairs in Japan. His production of the musical Pacific Overtures premiered in the U.S. at the Lincoln Center Festival in 2002. Then in 2004, he became the first Japanese director on Broadway for his staging of Pacific Overtures at Roundabout Theatre’s Studio 54, which received four Tony Award nominations. He has directed numerous productions throughout North America, including at Lincoln Center (Pacific Overtures, Yukio Mishima’s The Temple of Golden Pavilion), The Kennedy Center (Up in the Air), Santa Fe Opera, The Opera Company of Philadelphia, and Vancouver Opera (Tan Dun’s TEA: A Mirror of Soul) among others. His credits in Europe include Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) at Landestheater Linz in Austria, the opera The Temple of The Golden Pavilion at Opéra national du Rhin in France (Strasbourg and Mulhouse), YUGEN: The Hidden Beauty of Japan, the world’s first 3D live theater featuring Japanese Noh theater at the Royal Opera of Versailles (a special performance commemorating the 160th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between France and Japan, attended by the Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan and President Emmanuel Macron), and a reading presentation of Fanatic Artist Hokusai at the Great Court of British Museum in London, UK, among others. Upcoming productions include Wagner’s Parsifal, which opens this January at Opéra national du Rhin in France (Strasbourg and Mulhouse), and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at Sächsischen Staatsoper (Semperoper Dresden) in March 2020. Additionally, Madama Butterfly will be presented at Det Kongelige Teater in Denmark in January 2021, and at San Francisco Opera in September 2022. In Japan, recent shows include an original musical IKIRU, based on Akira Kurosawa’s acclaimed film of the same title and HYOEN 2019 “Tsukiakari no gotoku – Like a Moonlight –,” a special show featuring ice skating and The Tale of Genji starring two Olympian ice skaters Daisuke Takahashi and Shizuka Arakawa. He has directed numerous musicals in Japan such as A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, THE WIZ -The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in The Park with George, The Threepenny Opera, The Drowsy Chaperone, Candide, Urinetown, The Sound of Music, and Anything Goes, among others.
Keone and Mari Madrid (Choreography). Dance, choreography, and director husband and wife duo, Keone and Mari Madrid, have taken their unique storytelling urban dance style to platforms like: Billie Eilish, Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself,” BTS, MTV VMA nominations, NBC’s “World of Dance,” “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “The Ellen Show,” Cirque Du Soleil, Nike, Beats By Dre, billions of views on YouTube, multiple dance competition champions, global dance instructors, and more. Creators of the first ever dance ebook RUTH which debuted top 8 on iBooks and Google Play, they also co-created, directed, choreographed in the upcoming off-Broadway theater show Beyond Babel and are working on the upcoming Broadway musical Once Upon A One More Time.
Derek McLane (Set Design). Broadway designs include Moulin Rouge!, American Son, Parisian Woman, Beautiful, Follies, Anything Goes, How to Succeed in Business, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Million Dollar Quartet, Ragtime, 33 Variations (Tony Award), Little Women, The Pajama Game, I Am My Own Wife, The Women. Off-Broadway: The True, Ruined, Lie of the Mind, Hurlyburly, Abigail’s Party. He designed the 2013-2018 Academy Awards and 4 live musicals for television. Winner of multiple Obie, Lucille Lortel, Art Director’s Guild and Emmy Awards; the Drama Desk Award and Tony Award.
Kinoshita Group (Producer). Established in 1990 as a real estate company, Kinoshita Group continuously expands into many fields such as construction, rental real estate, senior care, childcare, medicine, food, movies, music, and publishing. Kinoshita Group is a rare type of business entity that manages multiple types of industries worldwide, actively developing projects not only in Japan but also overseas, such as in China, North America, Brazil, Pakistan, and Kenya. Since its establishment, Kinoshita Group has consistently conducted a business which directly relates to people, believing the most important goal is for all people to realize their full physical and spiritual potential. Kinoshita Group also aims to offer both old and new values to the world, by developing material wealth in various fields. Its company mission is to provide enriching harmony in both life and culture, and to pass that harmony down to the next generation. Kinoshita Group actively supports social and cultural endeavors, such as assisting young athletes to spread their wings around the world, museums and collaborate with galleries and theaters worldwide.
Kumiko Yoshii (Producer). Theatrical producing credits include Be More Chill, Prince of Broadway (Manhattan Theatre Club), The True (The New Group), Pacific Overtures (Roundabout, 4 Tony nominations), Big River (US National Tour), The Fantasticks (West End), and Up In The Air (Kennedy Center). Kumiko’s upcoming projects include the Broadway-aimed musical adaptation of the 1988 Mike Nichols movie Working Girl, together with Robyn Goodman and Josh Fiedler (Aged in Wood Productions), with music and lyrics by Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award winner Cyndi Lauper, book by screenwriter and playwright Bridget Carpenter and direction by Tony Award winner Christopher Ashley; and Dreamgirls at Tokyu Theater Orb in Tokyo. Producing/presenting credits in Japan include Dreamgirls, War Horse, West Side Story, Million Dollar Quartet, A Chorus Line, Xanadu, The Producers, and The Sound of Music, among others. Kumiko has also produced special events at David H. Koch Theater, David Geffen Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Rose Theater and The Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center, BAM, Apollo Theater, United Nations General Assembly, Sony Hall, PlayStation Theater, Rumsey Playfield and Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park. Producing/presenting credits in China include Shrek the Musical, Blue Man Group, and Wicked. Executive producer of IHI Stage Around Tokyo, member of The Broadway League serving on the International Committee and the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, member of the Advisory Committee of the Billy Rose Theatre Division at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and member of the Board of Directors of The New Group.
Michael Wolk (Producer) is a producer whose credits span Broadway (Prince of Broadway, Pacific Overtures); Lincoln Center (Musashi, Temple of the Golden Pavilion); Kennedy Center (Up In The Air); BAM (Macbeth); and Central Park (Japan Day @ Central Park). As a writer his credits include screenplays (Innocent Blood, Warner Bros., directed by John Landis), mystery novels (The Beast on Broadway, The Big Picture, Signet); and plays (Femme Fatale, Broadway Play Publishing), and the current interactive electronic novel DevilsGame (www.DevilsGame.com). He also wrote and directed the film noir comedy Deep Six and the award-winning documentary, You Think You Really Know Me: The Gary Wilson Story (both Amazon Prime Video). As Artistic Director of All For One Theater, he has produced over 50 solo plays off-Broadway since 2011, most recently Monsoon Season and the New York Times Critic’s Picks Open and The Brobot Johnson Experience.
Columbia Pictures (Underlying Rights) is a division of the Motion Picture Group of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE). SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture and television production, acquisition and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment productions, services and technologies. SPE’s Motion Picture Group production organizations include Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, 3000 Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Stage 6 Films, AFFIRM Films and Sony Pictures Classics. For additional information, visit sonypictures.com/corp/divisions.html.
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