THE HANGOVER REPORT – SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY is muscular, intimate, and altogether exultant

Bruce Springsteen performs in his musical memoir "Springsteen on Broadway" at the Walter Kerr Theatre.

Bruce Springsteen performs in his musical memoir “Springsteen on Broadway” at the Walter Kerr Theatre.

I recently got my hands on a much sought-after ticket to see Bruce Springsteen on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre in the appropriately-titled Springsteen on Broadway. True to his Jersey blue collar origins, the show – written, directed, and performed by Springsteen himself – is a no-nonsense, muscular, I would even argue transcendent, experience. It’s also perhaps one of the most unexpected triumphs of the Broadway season.

With this gutsy musical memoir, audiences are treated to a generous portion of Springsteen, albeit in a movingly pared-down, soulful package. The show, essentially an episodic autobiographical monologue, is peppered with some of Springsteen’s biggest hits like “Born on in the U.S.A.” and “Dancing in the Dark”, which are thrillingly revisited in raw, compelling new arrangements. Indeed, the piece registers more on a cabaret wavelength than it does arena rock, and intoxicatingly so. Without the bells and whistles of the music production that accompanies his albums and large-scale concerts, his songs attain a rugged, forceful poetry that’s reminiscent of some of our greatest singer-songwriters (i.e., Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell). All-in-all, Springsteen on Broadway is an authentic, thoughtfully-constructed vehicle, performed by an artist and showman who knows what it means to give his audiences their money’s worth.

Speaking of which, ticket prices are averaging around the $500 mark and are selling on the secondary market for more than $1K. Excessive? In a sense, absolutely. But in another sense, this show demands it. Experiencing “The Boss” in such intimate quarters is an enticing proposition. When else can you brag to have seen Springsteen at a venue like the Kerr, which seats less than a thousand? More importantly, Springsteen is the real deal; he’s an electric, enthralling presence. There is never a doubt that you are in the presence of greatness, a living legend. But what’s extraordinary about his performance at the Kerr is the naturalness and casual gravity he conveys; it’s completely seductive. Exultant.



Broadway, Musical/Concert
Walter Kerr Theatre
2 hours, 15 minutes (without an intermission)
Through June 30

Categories: Broadway, Cabaret, Theater

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