Review: Bruce Springsteen’s ‘exuberant in addition to intimate’ Broadway debut

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The show is actually billed as “an intimate night with Bruce, his guitar, a piano, in addition to his stories”

Bruce Springsteen is actually breaking box-office records with his one-man show, Springsteen on Broadway.

The rock star made $2.3m (£1.8m) in his first week of previews, behind only Hamilton in addition to Hello, Dolly! – which both played more shows inside the same period.

Mixing live music in addition to storytelling, the show is actually set to run for 16 weeks, with The Boss taking up residence inside the 960-seat Walter Kerr Theater.

“which’s probably the smallest venue I’ve played inside the last 40 years,” he said.

The show officially opens on Thursday night – yet the BBC’s Elysa Gardner managed to catch one of the previews.

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The star will play a few performances a week until February 2018

Bruce Springsteen’s first Broadway show is actually neither a musical nor a concert inside the tradition of his previous solo tours.

Written in addition to directed by The Boss, Springsteen On Broadway – which arrives roughly a year after his autobiography, Born To Run – is actually a meticulously crafted, deeply personal journey with set words in addition to music, with the star alternately accompanying himself on guitar in addition to piano.

yet the two-hour program is actually also, in its distinctly intimate, understated fashion, an affirmation of the exuberant showmanship in addition to vivid storytelling which Springsteen’s rock in addition to roll shares with musical theatre.

As a songwriter, we’re reminded, he’s as much an inheritor to Rodgers in addition to Hammerstein as any contemporary pop artist; an unabashed romantic having a probing social conscience, whose soaring tunes give full-throated voice to American dreams in addition to the demons which haunt them.

The songs in Springsteen On Broadway are clearly chosen less to show off Springsteen’s array of memorable characters (or hits, for which matter) than to acknowledge the people in addition to events which shaped them.

Not surprisingly, more time in addition to detail are devoted to his youth than his nearly 45 years among the most famous people on the planet.

“I come by a boardwalk town where everything is actually tinged having a bit of fraud,” he announced at a preview before the official opening night, before tearing into his first number, the early classic Growin’ Up. Two verses in, as if to underline the point, he paused to quip, “I’ve never held an honest job in my life… in addition to yet which’s all I’ve written about.”

Such self-deprecating humour, which extends to tales of Springsteen’s wayward youth in addition to early career struggles, was offset by moving, lyrical tributes to his father, a depressive who sought refuge at the local bar, in addition to his defiantly positive mother.

“She gave the entire world a lot more credit than which deserves,” Springsteen observed, heading to the piano for an achingly tender The Wish.

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The show concentrates on the foundations of Springsteen’s career

Springsteen also played the rock in addition to roll preacher, naturally, applying a shrewdly scaled-down edition of the shamanistic intensity which has whipped packed stadiums into frenzies. The script used winking yet seductive repetition, with playful references to the pleasures of the flesh, as well as the general promises of youth – captured in exhilarating readings of Thunder Road in addition to The Promised Land.

As the show progressed, though, the emphasis shifted to more mature concerns in addition to rewards. which’s here which Springsteen’s ability to open his heart in addition to transcend sentimentality – as the most affecting rock in addition to musical theatre artists almost invariably do – came to the fore. Back at the piano for a muscular Tenth Avenue Freezeout, he held forth without reserve about late E Street Band sax hero Clarence Clemons.

Joined by wife in addition to fellow E Street member Patti Scialfa For just two songs, he chose to wrap with Brilliant Disguise, an account of the frailty of love, written while Springsteen was married to another woman, made all the more poignant by a couple which has survived which.

Politics did not go entirely unmentioned; after noting which folk don’t like rock stars advising them on such matters, Springsteen made reference to “the mess we’re in” – embellishing which observation having a colourful adjective, yet avoiding the T-word.

Nodding to an era when his lyrics were twisted by another president, Springsteen introduced Born inside the USA with blistering, Eastern-flavoured chords (the show’s most flamboyant demonstration of his guitar virtuosity), then sang the first lines a cappella, his voice raw in addition to weary.

yet which’s plainly not the USA Springsteen chooses to see, or represent. One of the evening’s most rousing numbers was The Rising, an account of courage, sacrifice in addition to, yes, transcendence which was the title track of an album Springsteen released less than a year after 9/11. Its hero in addition to narrator is actually a firefighter working which day, facing the abyss yet also looking beyond which.

which’s an image which, 16 years later, carried a fresh sense of urgency. Springsteen spoke of finding “beauty in addition to power” in American stories, a goal which has found him consistently defying jingoism, in addition to prodding us to keep dancing inside the dark, while reaching for the light.

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The star was joined by his wife in addition to bandmate Patti Scialfa at the preview show

Setlist:

  • Growin’ Up
  • My Hometown
  • My Father’s House
  • The Wish
  • Thunder Road
  • The Promised Land
  • Born inside the U.S.A.
  • Tenth Avenue Freezeout
  • Tougher Than The Rest
  • Brilliant Disguise
  • Long Walk Home
  • The Rising
  • Dancing inside the Dark
  • Land of wish in addition to Dreams
  • Born To Run

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