Rocky Star Andy Karl Trains for the Role of a Lifetime

By Robert Viagas
22 Feb 2014

Orfeh and Andy Karl
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

"I have to remind these guys that they have to look like boxers for the show, but they aren't. Boxers train and train for one night, and then they can rest for months. In this show, the boxers have to be ready to perform every night. They have to train like boxers and like dancers. They need stamina and flexibility."

How is it working out? In the interest of journalism this writer checked the bicep on Rocky's iconic southpaw. It can be reported that "Rocky" is a good name for him. He'll need that muscle tone. The show's creators are seeking to make Rocky a adrenaline-spiking experience for the audience as well.

The show will be remembered for its climactic 16-minute fight sequence — 15 rounds of choreographed rock 'em, sock 'em battle between Rocky and Apollo Creed, played literally in the middle of the audience. That's right: At the climax of Act II the entire front center section of the audience is asked to leave their seats and relocate to the stage. The seats come out and the front orchestra becomes the boxing ring, placing the onlookers just a few feet from where Karl will get walloped, mashed, clobbered and pummeled eight times a week.

"It's audacious," Hoggett said. "That's why everyone gets behind it."

How Lucky Am I?

The role has affected Karl's home life as well. He is married to Orfeh, the single-named singer-actress-songwriter who earned a Tony nomination for playing the title character's BFF (and Karl's onstage sweetheart) in Legally Blonde. At first, Karl said, she didn't want Karl to take the role because she was worried that he would get hurt. But he finally convinced her that every precaution was being taken to keep him from going the injury-plagued route of Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark.

But then, Orfeh said, "When he came home one day with a black eye he got at rehearsal, he tried to hide it from me at first. 'What aren't you showing me?' He said 'Um... um...' so of course that made me think something horrible happened to him on the subway. Then he turns around and he's got a shiner like some makeup artist spent an hour on him. I lost my mind. That black eye took three and a half weeks to go away."

But, in the end, Orfeh said, the pluses of being married to Rocky Balboa far outweigh the occasional bruise. "We're both now health nuts and physical fanatics. We eat really well, which is really good for us. Also, he looks amazing. He's as beefy-cakey as he's ever been. I'm a very visual person and I can tell you it's quite lovely. He was a ten to begin with; now he's a twelve. How lucky am I?"

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Margo Seibert, Sylvester Stallone and Andy Karl
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN