The Karate Kid went on stage as the “world’s first karate action musical”


Miyagi-san is in the mood for a musical.

A musical version of the classic 80s film The Karate Kid will hit the stage next year. Think of wax, wax off, with jazz hands.

The Karate Kid – The Musical will have its world premiere on the Stages St. Louis, what the makers call a pre-Broadway engagement. Presumably, the Missouri show could go on to the Great White Way if the audience reacts to a Mr. Miyagi singing and dancing.

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Robert Mark Kamen, who wrote the script for the film based on its semi-autobiographical story, is writing the dialogue for the upcoming show, with Drew Gasparini (Smash) over music and text.

The 1984 martial arts drama follows the adventures of Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), an awkward teenager who is bullied while moving to a new city. Mr. Miyagi, the friendly handyman in his apartment complex who also happens to be a martial arts master, teaches LaRusso karate to help him defend himself and succeed in life.

“As a young man, my life was forever changed by traditional Okinawan karate and the teachers who taught me,” Kamen said in a statement on Wednesday. “The Karate Kid is my love letter both to these masters and to their practice. Karate primarily teaches you to follow your dreams, regardless of the obstacles, and that is the spirit with which we all show them.”

The show opens for a limited run from May 25 to June 26, 2022 at Stages St. Louis, which is focused on musical theater. Directed by Amon Miyamoto (Pacific Ouvertures).

“Karate teaches that there will be no conflict if you treat people with inner strength, humility and a spirit of harmony,” Miyamoto said in a statement. “It’s a message I think we need to hear even more now than it was in 1984, and I’m excited to be modernizing and setting this popular story for the world’s first karate action musical.”

The original Karate Kid film spawned a media franchise that includes five films, an animated television series, and Cobra Kai, the sequel that takes the story 34 years after the original. Cobrai Kai started on YouTube and later switched to Netflix.

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