Tina – the Tina Turner Musical opened last night at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. The music, the story, the lights, the band, the spectacle, what a show!
Tina, who turns 83 on Saturday, November 26, 2022 said this about the show:
“It has been years since I toured the US, and I am very excited that my own musical can now bring my music and story to my fans in their home cities across America. It’s a homecoming and that is very special to me.”
Two actresses alternate playing the role of Tina Turner in the tour – Naomi Rodgers (Frozen) and Zurin Villanueva (The Lion King). Naomi Rodgers played Tina on opening night that I saw (November 22, 2022).
Tina started singing professionally at the age of 17 with the Ike and Tina Turner review and wound up headlining the Rio-de Janeiro concert in front of 180,000 people as a solo act in 1988. Her duet with Mick Jagger at Live Aid is legendary. The voice – the performance – and those legs!
“Tina Turner is a living legend, a true star and entertainer whose story we are excited to bring to Philadelphia for the first time,” said Matías Tarnopolsky, president and CEO of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center, Inc. “Covering her childhood, marriage, career, and megastardom, this new musical will captivate audiences, inspiring all with her story of resilience and determination.”
I was most intrigued when they showed her working with Phil Spector. He instructed her how to sing the melody and with other direction, helped make River Deep – Mountain High a super hit.
Hit songs performed included Better Be Good to Me, Private Dancer, What’s Love Got to Do With It. I was hoping to hear Stronger than the Wind, but that’s just because I’m always championing local music and that was co-written by Essra Mohawk. She’s a Philadelphia native whose songwriting talent has taken her to Nashville.
Another Philly connection is the seven local musicians that are part of the Orchestra including Al Slutsky on guitar.
This new musical reveals a comeback story like no other, of a woman who dared to defy the bounds of racism, sexism, and ageism to become the global Queen of Rock n’ Roll. The show is an inspiration of triumph over adversity. Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Katori Hall and directed by the internationally acclaimed Phyllida Lloyd, I would say, it’s a Must See!
Tickets are selling fast and still available at Kimmel Cultural Campus.