Everything you need to know about 'Tina: The Tina Turner Musical' on Broadway
Here’s all you need to know about Broadway’s bio-musical, which puts the legendary Tina Turner back in the spotlight.
Ever since Tina: The Tina Turner Musical took to the stage for its world premiere in London in March 2018, Broadway fans have enviously looked on, wondering when Tina Turner's story will cross the pond. The wait is over. Directed by Phyllida Lloyd, the woman at the helm of the global phenomenon that is Mamma Mia!, and featuring a book by the Olivier Award-winning mastermind behind The Mountaintop, Katori Hall, Tina began previews at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Broadway on October 12, 2019, ahead of an official opening on November 7.
Find out more about Tina: The Tina Turner Musical on Broadway here.
What’s the story of Tina: The Tina Turner Musical?
Tina follows the journey of Anna Mae Bullock from humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee, in the 1940s to the creation of a global megastar by the name of Tina Turner, performing in front of 180,000 screaming fans at a concert in Brazil in 1988. Along the rocky road, we experience her broken childhood home, the fraught relationship with her mother, Zelma, being discovered in St. Louis by Ike Turner and the subsequent creation of 'The Ike & Tina Turner Revue.'
The musical does not shy away from the well-documented domestic abuse suffered at the hands of Ike and rejoices in Tina’s emancipation by the end of Act I. The second half concentrates on her struggle to establish herself as a solo artist, without a penny to her name. She meets her dream man, Erwin Bach, in Europe and, in the face of racism and ageism, and with the help of a young Australian manager/producer by the name of Roger Davies, Tina defies the odds to create a new sound that sets the world alight.
Who was in the original cast of Tina: The Tina Turner Musical on Broadway?
Reprising her Olivier-nominated from the London world premiere in the titular role was Adrienne Warren. This was truly a career-defining turn by the young stage favorite, who previously made her Broadway debut in 2012 in Bring It On The Musical and earned her first Tony Award nomination in 2016 for Shuffle Along. She was supported by an all-dancing and all-singing ensemble cast, including Daniel J. Watts as Ike Turner, Dawnn Lewis as Zelma and Myra Lucretia Taylor as Gran Georgeanna.
Why should I see Tina: The Tina Turner Musical on Broadway?
In a review of Tina the Musical for New York Theatre Guide, "Of course the audience can be found dancing and swaying in the aisles during the now inevitable curtain call encores... Yet in the case of Tina... there's a strong dramatic spine that makes it feel particularly earned and respected, and a necessary release for the audience, too."
Dramatic tension, especially in the first half of Tina, is palpable and, even if you are already fully aware of the events of her life, authentically shocking. Yes, these events have been well-documented, recently in Tina’s 2018 autobiography ‘My Love Story’ as well as the 1993 biopic “What’s Love Got to Do With It?,” but this simply doesn’t compare to the raw emotion evoked by seeing them play out live on stage. The second half of the bio-musical picks up where the Angela Bassett-led film left off, shedding more light on life after Ike.
This is the Adrienne Warren show. The endurance and charisma required to pull off this role call for a performer who can take it into overdrive... and beyond! With the inevitable jukebox musical encore finale worth the price of admission alone, writer Katori Hall has beautifully woven Tina’s wealth of hits into the story in a perfect balance of presentation and narrative progression.
Who would we recommend Tina: The Tina Turner Musical to?
Due to the graphic depiction of domestic violence, along with some colorful language, we recommend Tina for all those aged 16+. Even if you aren’t an ardent fan of the Queen of Rock and Roll, Tina Turner’s story makes for a compelling trip to the theatre and may be the perfect opportunity to introduce a friend or a partner to the world of Broadway. It could also be a great motivator and inspiration for young women.
When is Tina: The Tina Turner Musical reopening on Broadway?
Tina: The Tina Turner Musical is reopening at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Broadway from Oct. 8, 2021. Find out more about Tina the Musical on Broadway here.
(Photos by Manuel Harlan)