Movin' Out is also a jukebox musical that was a big success. I'll skip this one, though. Doesn't sound very good from the reviews.
ROLLING STONE loved the star, if not the show. ROLLING STONE REVIEW - NOVEMBER 7, 2019
Adrienne Warren's A Star is Born turn in TINA has finally arrived!!
Scroll down for another rave for Adrienne.http://www.newnownext.com/tea-leoni-madame-secretary-trans-documentary-man-made/11/2019/
We saw Tina last Saturday evening and thoroughly enjoyed it. A few of the songs did feel a bit shoehorned into the story ( e.g., "We Don't Need Another Hero" ), but this makes Summer look like a grade school production.Adrienne Warren is a powerhouse who fires on all cylinders throughout the show, and much of the supporting cast hangs right on her (stiletto) heels. Daniel J. Watts is superb as the love-to-hate-him Svengali, Ike Turner, and Dawnn Lewis gives a strong and emotional performance as Tina's mother. Unfortunately, the blood, sweat, and tears from these actors is let down by those playing Phil Spector (Steven Booth), Roger (Charlie Franklin), and particularly Rhonda (Jessica Rush), who feels like a cartoon character. There is a lot of vocal talent to be enjoyed here, along with some highly authentic choreography. Overall, Tina is a fitting paean to a legend who overcame great adversity to build a solo career as one of rock's most admired female vocalists.Our only regret was purchasing tickets in the mezzanine, which is extremely high and too far forward. We were in the third row of the center section and it felt like we were looking down on the tops of the performers' heads rather than at their faces. We made a mental note to always book the orchestra at the Lunt-Fontanne.
Saw Tina! tonight. All I can say is Tina Turner deserves better. I mean, hasn’t she suffered enough?To be fair, there were highlights, most notably Kayla Davion (understudy for Tina) who was very good. Too bad she was performing in such an often inert show. It’s a sin that Tina’s fascinating life has been flattened and muted, especially in Act 1, which is odd because the most interesting (and tragic) parts of Tina’s life occur in Act 1. But that’s mainly because Tina! falls prey to the jukebox curse. That is: songs shoehorned into a plot that they are ill-suited for. It doesn’t help that they’re wedged between some of the most stilted dialogue I’ve witnessed on a stage. Because of this, none of the characters, except for Tina, even approach being close to full fledged characters. The highlights of Act One are River Deep, Mountain High and Proud Mary. That’s mainly because they are pure performance numbers that simply recreate iconic moments from her life. As far as Act 1 book scenes, Tina leaving Ike at the end of Act 1 followed by her performance of I Don’t Wanna Fight was the best. Speaking of which...Why was Daniel J. Watts channeling Eddie Murphy as Ike? I was of course glad Tina left Ike at the end of Act 1, not just because it was good to see Tina reclaim her power in a moment that’s an iconic moment in her life, but because I knew that we’d see a lot less of Watts in Act 2. I can’t put all the blame on him. The writing is bad and I’m guessing he’s been directed to aim the character this way. Act 2 was better, even if it didn’t redeem Act 1 (nothing could). That’s ironically because less interesting stuff happens in her life in Act 2. She struggles to record the songs that would become her iconic Private Dancer album that launches her to superstardom, she falls In love, and her mother dies. There’s less songs (and thankfully less dialogue than in Act 1), but some are just performance numbers so they don’t feel as shoehorned in. It helps that most are great songs: Private Dancer, Disco Inferno, I Can’t Stand The Rain, Tonight, What’s Love Got To Do With It. However, the absolute best part is the final song (Simply) The Best followed by the encore all done concert-style. It’s all bright lights and loud volume. It was the first time the show finally came alive. It hinted at what a better creative team could’ve created, something that matched the excellence of the movie with Bassett and Fishburne. I’ve never considered (Simply) The Best one of her best songs (ironically), but there’s no mistaking it’s a great, energetic concert song. The encore was also fantastic: Nutbush City Limits, Proud Mary. Despite its flaws, the audience appeared to be eating it up. They presumably came to hear hear her greatest hits wedged between the famous moments of her life and they got that in spades. (Although the young ladies next to me showed up late for both acts and left during the encore which was a real head scratcher to me.) For me, it was a fair to often great impersonations of Tina, who was surrounded by cardboard cutouts of characters. You could feel them stretching Act 2 (since not much happens) to make it the acceptable length for an Act 2. So we get an odd hospital scene that concludes (SPOILER ALERT!) with her mom suddenly dying. This then segues into We Don’t Need Another Hero, which I didn’t mind as I might’ve expected. I mean, on the surface that song had nothing to do with her mother’s death. But I’ve always loved that song and even if the lyrics don’t quite match, the emotion of the song seemed to fit with its place in the show. I ended up not buying any merch (shocker!). Mainly because I don’t really find the graphic design that enticing plus I was really disappointed in the show. Expectedly, some poor audience behavior. Lady two seats over from me (seat between us remained empty) laughed right before Act 1 when the announcement came across about turning phones off and it being against the law to use your phone in the theatre. I could see she still had her phone in her lap and it was on and I was expecting to have to tell her to turn off or I was going to tell the usher, but she must’ve seen that no one else was filming anything and I think somewhere during act 1 she put her phone in her purse. Other people though had their phones out and were checking them during both acts. These were usually people that were too far away for me to say anything to them and then when we got into the more concert vibe of act two, those poor ushers were running down and up and down the aisles with their flashlights telling people to quit filming. So a mostly disappointing night of theater with a few highlights. On my subway ride back to the hotel, I just kept telling myself over and over again that at least I only paid $54 +1000 audience rewards points. It doesn’t help that on this trip previously I’ve already seen Oklahoma!, Hadestown, and West Side Story (not to mention straight plays The Sound Inside and The Inheritance) all of which have more significant character development and for the musicals, songs that naturally embody moments and don’t feel shoehorned in. Tina! doesn’t compare favorably with any of them. During Act 1, I even contemplated leaving during intermission (that would’ve been a first for me). I was tired and wasn’t feeling it. Luckily, Act 1 ended stronger than it began and perusal of the playbill suggested Act 2 would be shorter. Going in tonight, I thought that maybe I’d want to see this again once Adrienne Warren returns. I now know that I will never want to do that.I am a little worried about seeing Jagged Little Pill tomorrow night since it’s another jukebox musical, but at least it has an original plot and it’s not a biomusical which tends to be the type of jukebox musical I least like.
SouthernCakes said: "Curious to hear your thoughts on Jagged! Haven’t seen Tina yet!"I’m hopeful because the only jukebox musicals I’ve ever loved are American Idiot and Moulin Rouge (and I liked Mamma Mia to a lesser extent) and none of them are Biomusicals.
Miles2Go2 said: "Saw Tina! tonight. All I can say is Tina Turner deserves better. I mean, hasn’t she suffered enough?"It seems like you and I saw completely different shows. My husband and I both really liked Tina, and it's the only jukebox musical that either of us has ever expressed an interest in revisiting (actually, that's not quite true; we'd both like to see Jagged Little Pill again as well). Ironically, I see that you did like Moulin Rouge, which both of us felt was a waste of our money.
I'm with you, Miles. I also didn't see Warren, and though I'd love to based on the raves, I can't imagine sitting through this woefully inert, terribly scripted show a second time. It's possible to do a bio-musical well (I really enjoyed Jersey Boys, Beautiful, and Ain't too Proud), but this was a mess. A shame given the rich material and wonderful songbook. Good luck with Jagged Little Pill. It's...something!
"I am a little worried about seeing Jagged Little Pill tomorrow night since it’s another jukebox musical, but at least it has an original plot and it’s not a biomusical which tends to be the type of jukebox musical I least like. "I agree with you, at least "Jagged Little Pill" and "Heads Over Heels" have original plot and tried to be creative. Yes, there are some biomusicals that work like "Jersey Boys" but unfortunately that led to producers thinking every pop/rock star needed a Broadway musical about their life.
Thanks for the detailed review Miles I always enjoy reading your reviews. I'm seeing this tonight also with an Audience Rewards ticket. I had been looking forward to it but then I also tend to like jukebox musicals. I am surprised about the merch but then I don't usually buy anything if I don't like the show either:) I didn't buy anything at WSS on Sunday. Miles, I look forward to your Jagged review. I didn't think it was perfect but I liked it enough to want to see it again in the future.
Saw this last night and really enjoyed it. Seemed like a full house in the Orchestra. We had understudies for Tina (Nkeki) and Ike as well as 4/5 swings in the show. I saw on Instagram that it was the 1st appearance as Ike for Nick Burroughs so I don't know if that impacted his performance at all. He was great overall but also didn't seem as horrible as I thought Ike would be. I'd like to see this again with Adrienne and Daniel in.Overall, I liked how the story flowed and thought it was pretty easy to follow. Nkeki's voice is just incredible. I was blown away by her performance. I also thought the little girl playing young Anna Mae was great too. I'm surprised they don't have her alternating the role with someone else. I liked what they did at the end with the "encore" concert but that staircase was making me nervous throughout. Every time Nkeki ran up or down, I got scared she might slip and fall.
KitKatBoy24 said: "Saw this tonight after winning the lottery. Mezzanine seats. Adrianne Warren is truly a star and was incredible. However, the show is trash.The script and direction are terrible. How many times is the director going to have Tina stand down center and belt out a song while the ensemble slowly enters upstage and hits a position with dramatic lighting behind them? It happened like 4 times in act one. The entire staging of this show is lazy and uninspired.Set design is also bare and simple until the concert at the end.Lighting design was also simple unless it was a concert scene.Supporting cast was rather bad but I don’t know if that’s the actors fault or the director and scripts fault. I liked her sister, but that was it. Someone previously stated how Ike was played like an Eddie Murphy impression and I noticed that too. It was weird.I had major issues with a moment that Tina’s mother gave her a speech about how she should beat the hell out of Ike back and it got a big applause. I found myself thinking that encouraging spousal abuse of any kind is an issue. She should defend herself sure. And she should leave him, yes. But the mother’s speech was very “fight violence with violence” and I don’t think two wrongs make a right. Did this bother anyone else?Then in the mother’s next scene she was trying to make Tina take Ike back because the writing didn’t care about arcs or making sense.Oh and the audience’s behavior was awfulSorry, I’m ranting. I really hated this and I thought that maybe I would like it and Adrienne would make it worth it. But honestly I’ll tell people not to see it even for her. "I went last Wednesday and agree with nearly every single word of this. The direction is absurd, the book is messy and uneven (act two is much stronger and better paced than act one, in my opinion), and I wasn't particularly taken with the rest of the cast (with the exception of the woman playing Tina's sister; though I believe we had a swing on, so perhaps it's just the ensemble role that's best written). Edit: I also enjoyed Bob Lenzi's little moments but perhaps that's because I was already familiar with him and went in keeping an eye out for him.The speech her mother gave about violence also had me and the friend I was with cringing in our seats while most of the audience cheered. What surprised me is that I had no issue with the scene that followed: it was clearly self defense, she was provoked, and her primary goal was getting the **** out of there. That is definitely a scene where you could cheer. But the speech before it tried to set it up as something else and it was certainly off-putting.I do disagree that the show isn't worth seeing at all. Adrienne is giving an astounding performance and caused my jaw to actually drop on more than one occasion. I'd definitely recommend it at least once, just for her. And that curtain call is a blast.
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