Bruce Springsteen Reveals Why He'll Never Write a Broadway Musical
In an all-new interview with The New York Times, Bruce Springsteen discusses his highly anticipated Broadway concert debut, Springsteen on Broadway, a solo show opening at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Performances begin Tuesday, October 3, with an official opening on Thursday, October 12.
The 'Born to Run' singer jokes that with this production, he will serve as both director and scriptwriter. "That's me! That's me!," he laughs. "I'm going to direct myself onstage and I wrote up the script on my own. It's a pretty basic show. It's going to feel like a garage workshop basically, and I'm going to play my songs and tell my stories. So it wasn't something that called for a whole lot more than that."
However, the Boss makes it clear that he has no interest in ever writing a full-out Broadway musical. "I salute the guys that have given that a shot. It's not the same rules as pop music writing," he explains. "It's a completely different format, and I think it takes a set of completely different skills. It's not like, oh, I'll write 12 songs and kind of stick them together somehow."
He continues, "The guys I know who tried it really gave a good shot at it. My friend Sting, I thought, did a great job [with "The Last Ship"]. But it's a different thing conceiving it from the beginning to the end. I admire all the Broadway writers, Sondheim, who have been able to do that so magnificently, but it's not something I could ever do. It just seems too hard."He adds, "And then I've never really been good at, say, writing to script. In other words, "Now I need a song about [a certain subject]." I've never written like that. I've always written about what's pressing itself upon me to write at a given moment. I've never sat back and said, well, I need a song about Trump, or I need a song about this happening or that happening. When I've crossed over with topical songwriting, even that was something that began as, you're angry about something or you want to say something. That's the feeling that comes up first."
Asked if his upcoming show will be similar to his solo acoustic tours for "The Ghost of Tom Joad" and "Devils & Dust," performed in 3,000-seat theaters, Springsteen says, "Those were more concert experiences. The sets would change. This is a locked-in piece of music and script that I'm going to be performing pretty much the same on a nightly basis. It's a solidified piece of work. And I think the intimacy of the venue is going to really affect it, to make it quite a bit different from the acoustic tours. Though I don't know if I'd be doing this without the experience of doing them."
The legendary rocker also reveals that his upcoming concert will have rather simple production value. He comments, "Basically it's a one-man show. There's no production beyond the stage, some lights and some very high-quality sound. I thought anything beyond the song and the story ended up feeling too rigid and distracting. It happens every time we go to do a tour, you know?"Springsteen sums up his vision for the show by explaining, "I think an audience always wants two things. They want to feel at home and they want to be surprised. And I go out every time to do those two things. I try to make people feel that they've come to some place that they've known for a long time, and then also try to surprise them with some new insights or new forms or new energy or just a new way of doing something. You've got to have that X factor. If you don't have that, you're dead in the water." Read the interview in full here
Bruce Springsteen makes his Broadway concert debut this fall with Springsteen on Broadway, a solo show at the Walter Kerr Theatre (219 West 48th Street). Performances for Springsteen on Broadway begin Tuesday, October 3, with an official opening on Thursday, October 12. Springsteen will perform five shows a week through November 26th The creative team includes Heather Wolensky (scenic design), Natasha Katz (lighting design) and Brian Ronan (sound design).Bruce Springsteen's recording career spans over 40 years, beginning with 1973's 'Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ' (Columbia Records). He has released 18 studio albums, garnered 20 Grammys, won an Oscar, been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, received a KENNEDY Center Honor, and was MusiCares' 2013 Person of the Year. Springsteen's memoir 'Born to Run' (Simon & Schuster) and its companion album 'Chapter and Verse' were released in September 2016, and he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November last year. Springsteen's The River Tour 2016 was named the year's top global tour by both Billboard and Pollstar. 'Born to Run' will be issued in paperback by Simon & Schuster on September 5.
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