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Rocky’s Margo Seibert: Broadway’s New Knockout

How an unknown landed her debut in the season’s most buzzed about musical

One of the most famous lines in one of the most beloved movies of all time consists of one word: Adrian. And now that Rocky, the 1976 movie that spawned five sequels, has been adapted into a $16.5 million Broadway musical at the Winter Garden Theatre, there’s a new actress taking on that role.

The day after her first performance, DuJour met Margo Seibert, the actress cast after nine rounds of auditions to play the Adrian to Andy Karl’s Rocky, and chatted about acting, boxing and the universal appeal of an underdog.

Andy Karl and Margo Seibert, photo by Matthew Murphy

You’re making your Broadway debut in a musical adaptation of an iconic film. How’d that happen?

It wasn’t necessarily my goal; like, I didn’t set out saying, “It’s definitely going to be Broadway.” I was always singing and performing as a kid, and I started doing it professionally when I was 16 at a local dinner theatre called Toby’s Dinner Theater in Columbia, Maryland. I never trained formally for theater; I just did it.

And you got your start on stage in Washington, D.C.

I went to school at American University for International Relations and was still performing in all of the productions there. After graduating, I stayed in D.C. to be in the theater community there. I didn’t have enough confidence to go to New York right away. I wanted to make sure that I could still make a living and pay my rent; I wanted to make sure I was really prepared before I came here.

What was your relationship to Rocky before you got this role?

I knew that Rocky was incredibly iconic, but I didn’t grow up in a family that watched the movie; we didn’t know a whole lot about it.  When we were in the audition process, I was like, “OK, great, let’s just do this!”

So how did you prepare to take on a character a lot of people were already familiar with?

I did my research, and I watched the film. You forget how beautifully simple the script is; you forget the simplicity of Rocky. You think it’s this big boxing movie, but it’s not. It’s the underdog story that everybody can relate to at some point in his life.  I really respect the fact that they gave me a chance not knowing who I was. I think that’s why I auditioned like, nine times.

Have you encountered people who are skeptical of a Rocky musical?

Absolutely! That’s the reaction that originally came from me when I got the first call. I was like, this sounds like maybe a really bad idea. Luckily it’s been done so tastefully, and that makes a huge difference. People are nervous; they don’t want to see Rocky sing, but I think because the film is so simple—with beautiful, clear scenes—there was space for music.

Last night was your first preview. How did that feel?

Oh my God, I was so elated. It was my first time stepping on a Broadway stage in front of an audience, and there was a moment that I’ve never experienced before—which came when Adrian finally stands up for herself—called “I’m Done.” The audience cheered after the song for much longer than I expected. I had to stop the scene and wait, which was incredible.  I was so overwhelmed, and I was shaking.

Since this is a show about a boxer, I’ve got to ask: Can you throw a punch?

I have taken some boxing lessons, I won’t lie. And I was pretty good! I told Andy Karl he needs to watch out, because by the end of this show I’ll be able to take him.

 

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