KIRKWOOD, Mo. – Nearly 40 years after its original release, the martial arts classic “The Karate Kid” is taking on a new life as a Broadway-style musical. “The Karate Kid – The Musical” will premiere later this month, kicking off the 36th season at STAGES St. Louis.

Robert Mark Kamen, who penned the screenplay for the 1984 film inspired by his own real-life story, worked with lyricist Drew Gasparini on the musical’s creative team.

The film follows Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), who moves cross-country to California with his mother to start a new life only to find himself tormented by bullies led by Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka). LaRusso turns to Japanese handyman Mr. Miyagi (Noriyuki “Pat” Morita) to teach him karate in order to defend himself.

“The Karate Kid” spawned three direct sequels and a 2010 remake, as well as an animated series. The franchise received new life in 2018 with the launch of “Cobra Kai,” a series following characters Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso as adults.

The musical will run from May 25 to June 26 at The Ross Family Theatre at the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center. Tickets are available at

Amon Miyamoto is directing the musical, with choreography by Keone and Mari Madrid.