Hear the songs of Alicia Keys in 'Hell's Kitchen' on Broadway

The multi-award-winning singer composed the score for the new musical loosely based on her own adolescence and career beginnings in the title NYC neighborhood.

Gillian Russo
Gillian Russo

There's nothing she can't do — now she's in New York! Fifteen-time Grammy Award winner Alicia Keys has built an illustrious music career, selling more than 90 million records to become one of the top-selling artists worldwide. Her soulful R&B sound, which also fuses pop and hip-hop, has inspired dozens of other artists and made Keys a singular voice in American music. And to think it all started in a tiny apartment in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan.

That's the loose premise of Hell's Kitchen, a new musical on Broadway featuring a score by Keys. The ambitious main character, Ali, is based on the singer, and the coming-of-age show details how she discovers all the possibilities that music can unlock for her, even as she faces hard truths about the road to success.

Keys doesn't appear on stage, but her fans will nonetheless revel in the chance to hear the artist's music live. Read on to learn more about how Keys's music brings her memories and her neighborhood to stirring life.

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Which Alicia Keys songs are in Hell's Kitchen?

The Hell's Kitchen musical includes Alicia Keys's existing hits alongside three new songs: "River," "Seventeen," and "Kaleidoscope." Keys wrote "Seventeen" specifically for the musical, and the other two are previously unreleased tunes from her catalog. Even people who know her music inside and out will hear something completely new.

There are some landmark Keys hits that were almost guaranteed to be on stage, too. Learn more about some of the musician's famous songs and how they factor into Hell's Kitchen.


"Fallin'", from Keys's 2001 debut album, Songs in A Minor, is the song that put her on the map. It hit the number-one spot on the Billboard Hot 100, won three Grammy Awards, and remains one of her best-known songs. Keys sings about a person she can't stop loving, even at low points in their relationship: "Sometimes I love you, sometimes you make me blue," she croons. "I keep on fallin' in and out of love with you."

In Hell's Kitchen, Ali falls for a fellow young musician — a drummer, to be precise — but she isn't the only one. Years before, her mother, Jersey, fell in love with a pianist, Davis. When he comes back into Jersey's life, Davis sings a jazzy version of "Fallin'" to express how, even though their relationship is rocky and estranged, he can't resist her when they're together.

"If I Ain't Got You"

This soulful song is about a love more important than anything else in the world. "Some people want diamond rings, some just want everything, but everything means nothing if I ain't got you," go the lyrics to this Grammy-winning hit from Keys's second album.

This Keys tune is so famous, it would be surprising if it didn't show up in Hell's Kitchen. In the musical, it's a song Davis wrote when Ali was a child to show his love for his little girl.

"Girl on Fire"

"This girl is on fire." In other words, she's on top of the world, powerful, and unstoppable. That's where Ali, newly taken and finding her way at the piano, is near the end of Act 1 of Hell's Kitchen — but being on fire also means being at risk of burning out.

The stage version of the song gets a twist courtesy of Ali's friend Tiny, who reminds her of this — and the fact that her power comes from so much more than getting a boyfriend. "You can't see clear 'cuz you're falling in this illusion of bliss," Tiny says.

"Perfect Way to Die"

After a police confrontation involving Ali; her boyfriend, Knuck; Jersey; and others in Ali's community, Ali's piano teacher, Miss Liza Jane, urges her to pour her rage into the instrument.

In one of the musical's most rousing and gutting scenes, Miss Liza Jane sings this song, suggesting that her son previously died of racist violence and that she found emotional release in the piano, too.

Keys released this song in 2020 in honor of Mike Brown and Sandra Bland, who died as a result of police brutality.

"No One"

"No One" is one of Keys's best-known love songs, a two-time Grammy Award winner released in 2007. It remains a love song in Hell's Kitchen, but not romantic love. Jersey and Ali have their many (many) fights as Ali stubbornly grows into a young woman, but in a tender Act 2 scene, Jersey sings this song to Ali to remind her how deep her love runs — and Ali joins in to do the same.

"Empire State of Mind"

If there are three songs that instantly define the city, they're Frank Sinatra's jazzy "New York, New York", Billy Joel's gentle "New York State of Mind", and Alicia Keys and Jay-Z's energetic "Empire State of Mind." It's hard to go a day in the city without hearing the latter duo's 2011 hit in a restaurant, a store, or a cab.

This song is the rousing finale of Hell's Kitchen — a full-company celebration of the concrete jungle where Ali's dreams are made.

All the Alicia Keys songs in Hell's Kitchen

The above are just some of the highlights, but here are all the Alicia Keys songs that appear in the musical in order.

Act 1

  • "The Gospel"
  • "The River"
  • "Seventeen"
  • "You Don't Know My Name"
  • "Kaleidoscope"
  • "Gramercy Park"
  • "Not Even the King"
  • "Teenage Love Affair"
  • "Un-thinkable (I'm Ready)"
  • "Girl on Fire"
  • "Perfect Way to Die"

Act 2

  • "Authors of Forever"
  • "Heartburn"
  • "Love Looks Better"
  • "Work on It"
  • "Authors of Forever (Reprise)"
  • "Fallin"
  • "If I Ain't Got You"
  • "Pawn It All"
  • "Like You'll Never See Me Again"
  • "When It's All Over"
  • "Hallelujah/Like Water"
  • "No One"
  • "Empire State of Mind"

Get Hell's Kitchen tickets now.

Book Tickets CTA - LT/NYTG

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Photo credit: Alicia Keys. (Photo courtesy of production)

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