The All Valley Karate Championship is coming to Broadway as the 1984 cult film “The Karate Kid” will be adapted into a stage musical, producers Kinoshita Group announced on Wednesday.
Japanese director Amon Miyamoto will helm the project and work from a book written by “Karate Kid” screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen. Drew Gasparini will write music and lyrics for the production while Keone and Mari Madrid will choreograph. Kumiko Yoshii and Michael Wolk are producers.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think this little movie would reach across generations the way it has,” said Kamen in a statement. “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.”
The original “Karate Kid” starred Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso, a teen who is taught karate by Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) in order to help defend himself from bullies and win the local karate championship. Miyagi does so through seemingly irrelevant and menial chores, most famously the “wax on, wax off” technique, and also teaches Daniel important lessons about personal balance.
The film became a box office success, spawning three sequels and a 2010 remake that starred Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith. In 2018, YouTube announced a new online series titled “Cobra Kai,” which continued the series with Macchio and William Zabka, who played Johnny Lawrence, Daniel’s rival.
“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,” Miyamoto said. “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.”
Casting for the musical is underway and production dates will be announced at a later date.