Review Roundup: Pre-Broadway Run of THE KARATE KID Opens in St. Louis

The production is now on stage at the Ross Family Theatre at the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center.

By: Jun. 02, 2022
Review Roundup: Pre-Broadway Run of THE KARATE KID Opens in St. Louis

The Karate Kid - The Musical is having its pre-Broadway, world premier engagement with STAGES St. Louis at the Ross Family Theatre at the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center, and celebrated its official opening night yestrday. Let's see what the critics have to say!

The complete cast includes Jovanni Sy as Mr. Miyagi, John Cardoza as Daniel LaRusso, two-time Tony Award® nominee Kate Baldwin as Lucille LaRusso, Alan H. Green as John Kreese, Jake Bentley Young as Johnny Lawrence, Jetta Juriansz as Ali Mills, and Luis Pablo Garcia as Freddie Fernandez.

The ensemble cast features Manik Anand, Trevor James, Leah Berry, Caitlyn Caughell, Kristina Garvida Doucette, Zachary Downer, Francis Florendo, Kayla Jenerson, Sydney Jones, Josh Hoon Lee, Noah Lentini, Garrick Goce Macatangay, Kelly MacMillan, Abby Matsusaka, Justice Moore, Omar Nieves, Jackson Kanawha Perry, Isidro Rafael, Sangeetha Santhebennur, and Victor Carrillo Tracey.

The book was written by Robert Mark Kamen who wrote the original screenplay for the 1984 film, with music and lyrics by Drew Gasparini, choreography by Keone and Mari Madrid, and under the direction of Amon Miyamoto. Joining the creative team is Tony Award-winning scenic designer Derek McLane, costume designer Ayako Maeda, Tony Award-winning lighting designer Bradley King, Tony Award-winning sound designer Kai Harada, Tony Award-nominated projection designer Peter Nigrini, Tony Award-nominated orchestrator John Clancy, with music director & arrangements by Andrew Resnick.

James Lindhorst, BroadwayWorld: This production is a multi-sensory experience that tells a well-known coming of age story in a medium that the franchise had yet to conquer. Fans of the original movie will appreciate the consist approach to the source material. Musical theater fans will appreciate the impressive production qualities that make this musical adaptation really sing. This production is a knockout for director Amon Miyamoto. His vision and leadership have created a stunning production that will surprise audiences. THE KARATE KID THE MUSICAL will join other successful movie adaptations that have succeeded by telling an emotional story that resonates with audiences coupled with original production qualities that will amaze and satisfy theater goers.

Christine Jackson, St. Louis Mag: The '80s outfits, the shower curtain costume, the sparse but always well-timed quips from Mr. Miyagi, the karate training sequences, of course-they're all there. Highlighted on stage by the set and lighting design from Derek McLane and Bradley King respectively, these moments are given new life. And The Karate Kid creator Robert Mark Kamen's first pass at theater reframes the story slightly and gives his film's characters added richness.

Chadwick Benefield, WBKR: All that said, I am not sorry I made the 3-hour trip to St. Louis to see the show. Like I said, I am a huge fan of The Karate Kid franchise. But this is certainly still a work in progress. I will, however, give some major props to the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center for offering some The Karate Kid-inspired cocktails.

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