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August 26, 2019

This is ‘King Kong’ on Broadway’s most important lesson according to its star

November 9, 2018
Christiani Pitts as Ann Darrow and her giant animatronic ape co-star in Broadway’s “King Kong.” (Matthew Murphy)

The beast in “King Kong” looms large on Broadway — and so do the messages behind the classic tale.

The musical officially opening Thursday at the Broadway Theatre, like the 1933 movie it’s adapted from, packs lessons on fame, fortune and freedom.

Showing love and compassion to strangers you may not have much in common with is one of the most vital ones according to Christiani Pitts, who stars opposite the massive ape King Kong in the show.

Pitts, 25, plays struggling actress Ann Darrow, who accompanies a filmmaker who promises to make her a star to Skull Island, where they encounter Kong. When things go wrong, the filmmaker ditches his movie plans and instead kidnaps the beast and brings him back to New York to force him to star on a Broadway stage.

Kong — who is brought to life with animatronics and puppetry — can’t speak, but that doesn’t stop him and Ann from sharing a special bond.

“One of the most important messages is that when you’re communicating with someone who is different from you, really the most important thing that you can share and that you can show them is love and compassion,” Pitts tells the Daily News. “You won’t always speak the same language as someone. You won’t always look the same as someone. But if you communicate with love first and understanding and respect, you guys will be able to find a common ground.

“Our main character cannot speak and the other main character is someone who struggles to find her voice and yet they communicate in such a powerful way that is beyond verbal,” she adds. “It’s love, it’s respect. And I think that you watch our show and forget that he’s a puppet and forget that I’m an actor and just look at two entities trying to communicate and figuring out how to do that without words.”

Pitts says the show sends a message that speaking the same language as someone is not always important.

“Just respect each other and love each other and you’ll find a way to understand each other,” she says.

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