Magazine article Variety

Springsteen on Broadway

Magazine article Variety

Springsteen on Broadway

Article excerpt

THEATER REVIEW

Springsteen on Broadway

Theater: Walter Kerr; 960 seats; $850 top

Writer, music: Bruce Springsteen

Starring: Bruce Springsteen, Patti Scialfa

As Bruce Springsteen began the last verse of "The Promised Land" on Oct. 10, he wandered away from the microphone but kept singing, and his voice carried, purely under its own power, to the 960 or so pairs of ears within range at the Walter Kerr Theatre. It was a startlingly intimate moment - dramatically different from hearing an icon speak or seeing a living legend up close. It was like hearing the Boss singing in his house.

Obviously, in a sense, he was. "Springsteen on Broadway" - which opened Oct. 12 after a week of previews and runs through Feb. 3 - is a kind of live autobiography based on the performer's 2016 memoir, "Born to Run": a series of stories, each capped by a song that suits the theme or events just described. Springsteen defined the show to Variety in an aw-shucks manner - "I tell some stories and play some music" - but it's actually one of the biggest projects of his career. Having reached virtually every mountaintop a rock star can ascend, at 68, the workaholic singer-songwriter is setting out for another summit, and the scripted nature of this four-month-long run is a new discipline for a man who famously switches up his set lists and speechifying on a nightly basis. The opening "Growin' Up" is followed by "My Hometown," which is followed by "My Father's House" (see where he's going with this?), framing memories of the Holy Trinity of family, church and Jersey that will be familiar, if comparatively rose-colored, to anyone who's read his book. Springsteen specializes in Steinbeck-size statements, and this show is no exception.

At such close range, his stadium-scale charisma is necessarily dialed down, and in many ways the show is the obverse of a usual concert by the Boss: Particularly during the first half of the two-hour performance, the songs take a backseat to the stories. He reads from Teleprompters for most of the spoken segments - which is slightly distracting in such close quarters, as if your date were constantly focusing on something over your head - and, possibly due to Tony Awards rules, he sticks to his script. Except for two songs where he's joined by his wife and E Street Band mate, Patti Scialfa, he's all by himself on the stark stage, playing piano, harmonica and a rotation of acoustic guitars. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.