March 31, 2014 at 10:20 AM ET
Rocky Balboa is back! But this time the man behind everyone's favorite hard-knocks story isn't hitting the mean streets of Philly — or even the big screen. This time "Rocky" is on Broadway, and TODAY's Willie Geist hit the Great White Way to check it out.
Actor Andy Karl, who brings to life the character Sylvester Stallone first made famous in the films, showed Geist the ropes and shared the secrets behind his own take on the boxing champ.
"He's this great historical film character, and so, I want to honor that in that way," Karl explained. "But also be like, I am talking to that girl over there. I am saying, 'Yo, Adrian!'"
Karl wasn't the only one saying that. Geist gave it a try and mastered it before moving on to learn the ultimate "Rocky" skill — fake fighting.
"The first thing is you're going to get hit, so you've got to keep your head loose," Karl instructed.
But Terence Archie, who plays Balboa's adversary Apollo Creed, had a fighting tip of his own for Geist.
"Uh! Uh! Uh!" he gasped in response to mock blows. "That really sells it!"
Of course, in order to get the full "Rocky" experience, Geist had to down a glass of raw egg and climb the famous steps to victory.
"I need a nap!" he said when it was all over.
While the behind-the-scenes experience knocked the wind out of Geist, he recommends the audience experience for the rest of us.
"The last 20 minutes are unlike anything I've ever seen on Broadway," he said. "You are put at the center of a prize fight. You feel like you're there. It's a great show."
Stallone, who serves as producer of the musical, will visit TODAY Tuesday.