(AP) Picking the guy who will play Rocky Balboa onstage was no easy task. Just ask Sylvester Stallone, who helped cast Broadway veteran Andy Karl.
"Having gone through literally hundreds, maybe thousands, of prospects, Andy was one of our first choices and he just had it," Stallone said last month during a sit-down with the actor who will be playing his most famous character.
"He has what it takes there's no arrogance, there's a natural humility about him, and that's what is important," Stallone said.
"No matter how threatening he may look, you're going to like him, it just comes through. And that's not so easy to find. Tough guys are a dime a dozen; a sensitive tough guy, pretty rare."
The musical "Rocky" will open on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre in March 2014. Based on the Oscar-winning 1976 film by Stallone, the musical features a score by "Ragtime" veterans Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, and a story by Thomas Meehan, who wrote "The Producers" and "Hairspray."
Karl's Broadway credits include "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," ''Jersey Boys," ''9 to 5," ''Legally Blonde," ''The Wedding Singer" and "Saturday Night Fever." Margo Seibert, making her Broadway debut, will star as Adrian, Balboa's love interest.
The musical stays close to the film, which charted the rise and romance of amateur boxer and debt collector Rocky Balboa, who gets his shot against undefeated heavyweight champion Apollo Creed.
The film made famous the image of Balboa running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the quote "Yo, Adrian!" The trumpet-laden funky theme "Gonna Fly Now" and the anthem "Eye of the Tiger" will be in the Broadway version.
The director is Alex Timbers, who directed Broadway's "The Pee-wee Herman Show" and directed and wrote the book for "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson." The boxing choreography is being done by Steven Hoggett, who choreographed "American Idiot," ''Peter and the Starcatcher" and "Once."