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The Real Reason The Karate Kid Is Getting The Broadway Treatment

37 years later after the original tale began, "The Karate Kid" — bolstered by the success of the hit streaming series "Cobra Kai" — is about to get its kicks on Broadway.

With live stage musical productions finally reemerging after a massive shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the creators of the upcoming musical version of "The Karate Kid" have set a date for its debut on May 25, 2022, and will run through June 26, 2022, at The Kirkwood Performing Arts Center just outside of St. Louis. According to Deadline, "The Karate Kid" will begin in St. Louis in a "pre-Broadway tryout." A Pre-Broadway run is an often-tested concept, where producers will debut their shows in a regional market to work out to kinks before they hopefully land an engagement on Broadway.

"The Karate Kid" saga began in 1984 with the original film, starring Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso — a 17-year-old who finds himself bullied. The chief antagonist — or so it seems at the beginning of "The Karate Kid" — is Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), one of the prize students at the Cobra Kai dojo. Johnny's attitude, though, is rooted in the unforgiving ways of his sensei, John Kreese (Martin Kove), an ex-Special Forces Vietnam War veteran who teaches his blindly loyal students the concept of "no mercy." Witnessing how Daniel is being bullied, his apartment building handyman Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) teaches the teen defense and discipline through Okinawan Karate. 

After a successful sequel, "The Karate Kid" movie series started to wane in popularity with the third film. After a fourth film, "The Next Karate Kid" – starring a then-unknown Hilary Swank — fizzled, and a remake of the original starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith failed to land with audiences the way the 1984 film did, the franchise remained dormant for years. However, the streaming series "Cobra Kai," which examines the rivalry between Daniel and Johnny as adults, has become enormously popular, paving the way for this newest development.

The Karate Kid is becoming a musical

The musical version of "The Karate Kid" will be helmed by Japanese director Amon Miyamoto, with music and lyrics by "Smash" composer Drew Gasparini. 

Robert Mark Kamen, who wrote the screenplay for the first movies in the "The Karate Kid" series, is writing the script of the musical, as well, and said in a statement that he is doing so in a bid to inspire the same sort of wonder he did with the films. "When I was a young man, my life was forever changed by traditional Okinawan Karate and the instructors who taught it to me. 'The Karate Kid' is my love letter to both those masters and their practice," Kamen said. "Karate teaches, above all, to follow your dreams no matter what obstacles are put in front of you, and that is the spirit with which all of us are approaching this show."

While the production's creatives are all in place, the musical's cast is yet to be announced. In the meantime, Fans of "The Karate Kid" will be able to get their fix of the saga when "Cobra Kai" Season 4 debuts on Netflix in December 2021.