*Tina,* 11/16/19

November 26, 2019

Diane, Irene, Richard, and I saw *Tina* on 11/16/19. It recently opened on Broadway after a successful run in London. The show is a jukebox musical that tells the story of Tina Turner, using her songs to illustrate the story. Ms. Turner is executive producer of the show, so we can all rest easy knowing it has her blessing.

The show was very strong, exciting and coursing with drama. Richard was disturbed by the violence, but this kind of violence should be disturbing, right? The songs were thoughtfully chosen and successfully woven into the story. Director Phyllida Lloyd (who also directed the stage and movie versions of *Mamma Mia!,* also the play *Mary Stuart,* the recent all-female Shakespeare productions at St. Ann’s Warehouse in London, and the movie *The Iron Lady*) created a show that was tight but never rushed. The show was a first class Broadway product, I was totally drawn in won over.

Adrienne Warren played Tina in London and is headlining in the show on Broadway, but she wasn’t doing our performance - - she’s doing what Patti Lupone did in *Evita,* what Bette Midler did in *Hello Dolly!,* she’s getting someone else to do two out of eight shows a week, the Wednesday and Saturday matinees. We saw Nkeki Obi-Melekwe She did this same routine in London and this is her Broadway debut. She was unbelievable, I never felt that I was seeing a lesser talent in the role. I hope her next show has her as the headliner. She just graduated from the University of Michigan in 2018, so she’s just getting started!

Obi-Melekwe’s acting and singing were both impressive, but I was most thrilled by her dancing. She knows how to work her fringe! I will never forget her and the Ikettes frantically doing the pony to “Proud Mary.”

The show ended (like *Mamma Mia!*) with a couple of songs performed after the curtain call. That annoyed me with *Mamma Mia!,* it seemed cheap and gratuitous, but it made perfect sense in this show, since the final scene took place at a rock concert. It felt like we were watching two songs from the concert, and the show ended with a burst of energy.

 

Off topic, my friend Cindy Wilkerson and I are both big Broadway theatre-goers and started a mutual project of seeing a show in each of the 41 Broadway theaters.  I went through ibdb.com  (the Internet Broadway Database) and scrolled through each theater.  I made a spreadsheet of all of the shows I've seen.  The American Airlines Theater is the winner, with 16 shows.  There are only two theaters I haven't been to: the August Wilson Theater (I might grab a cheap ticket to see *Mean Girls* at some point) and the Majestic (I saw *Phantom* on tour in Chicago in the 80s and didn't care for it, so it would take something pretty special to draw me to see that show).  Anyway, the reason I'm bringing this up: *Tina* was the 250th Broadway performance I've been to.  Impressive, no?

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