Springsteen on Broadway

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Springsteen on Broadway
Residency by Bruce Springsteen
Springsteenonbroadway.jpg
LocationNew York City, U.S.
VenueWalter Kerr Theatre, St. James Theatre
Start dateOctober 3, 2017 (preview performances) October 12, 2017 (official opening), June 26, 2021 (St. James Theatre)
End dateDecember 15, 2018, September 4, 2021 (St. James Theatre)
No. of shows236 (Walter Kerr Theatre), 31 (St. James Theatre)
Box office$113,058,952[1]
Bruce Springsteen concert chronology

Springsteen on Broadway is a concert residency by Bruce Springsteen held at the Walter Kerr Theatre and St. James Theatre in New York City. The original residency at the Walter Kerr Theatre consisted of Springsteen performing five shows a week, Tuesday through Saturday. Preview performances began on October 3, 2017 followed by the official opening on October 12, 2017. The run was originally expected to conclude on November 26, 2017; however, due to high demand for tickets and issues with scalpers, additional dates were added through June 30, 2018.[2][3][4][5] The show was extended a second time on March 20, 2018, extending the run through December 15, 2018.[6]On June 7, 2021, Springsten announced that there will be a limited 31 show run of Springsteen on Broadway at the St. James Theatre beginning on June 26, 2021 with additional performances through September 4, 2021.[7]

The shows featured Springsteen, solo, playing guitar and piano, performing his music, restating incidents from his 2016 autobiography, Born to Run, and performing other spoken reminiscences written for the show. Springsteen's wife, Patti Scialfa, also appeared at most shows. The residency at the Walter Kerr Theatre grossed over $113 million from a total of 236 shows.[1]

Background[edit]

On June 16, 2017 information leaked that Springsteen would be performing an eight-week run on Broadway in New York City at the 960-seat Walter Kerr Theatre in the fall of 2017. On August 9, 2017, the performances were made official by Springsteen's website. "Bruce has had this specific idea in mind since last December. It came into focus slowly and then all at once last January," Springsteen's manager Jon Landau said in a statement.

Springsteen said of the performances "I wanted to do some shows that were as personal and as intimate as possible. I chose Broadway for this project because it has the beautiful old theaters which seemed like the right setting for what I have in mind. In fact, with one or two exceptions, the 960 seats of the Walter Kerr Theatre is probably the smallest venue I’ve played in the last 40 years. My show is just me, the guitar, the piano and the words and music. Some of the show is spoken, some of it is sung. It loosely follows the arc of my life and my work. All of it together is in pursuit of my constant goal to provide an entertaining evening and to communicate something of value."[8]

The creative team for Springsteen on Broadway includes Heather Wolensky (scenic design), Natasha Katz (lighting design) and Brian Ronan (sound design).

On September 19, 2017, Springsteen performed a rehearsal show at Monmouth University that was invitation only and attended by around 200 family members and close friends.[9]

During episode 3 of the Renegades podcast he co-hosted with former president Barack Obama, Springsteen revealed the initial inspiration for the show came from a private concert he performed at the White House during the final month of the Obama Presidency. According to Springsteen, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama both encouraged Springsteen to turn the performance into a show.

Springsteen announced an additional limited run of performances will be held at St. James Theatre beginning on June 26, 2021 with additional performances taking place through September 4, 2021. “I loved doing Springsteen on Broadway and I’m thrilled to have been asked to reprise the show as part of the reopening of Broadway” Springsteen said. It is not known if the setlist for these performances will differ from the setlists on his previous Broadway run. Proceeds from the opening night will be donated to a group of local New York and New Jersey charities including the Boys and Girls Club of Monmouth County, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Food Bank For New York City, Fulfill (Monmouth & Ocean Counties Foodbank), Long Island Cares, NJ Pandemic Relief Fund and Actors Fund of America. Springsteen said that his manager Jon Landau and Jordan Roth, owner of Broadway's Jujamcyn Theaters, pitched him the idea however it was a "friend" who came to his home and talked him into doing more shows. "It gives me something to do this summer so I won’t be lazying around on the beach. I knew we were going to tour with the E Street Band next year so I said I'll take some time off” Springsteen said. He also said that he would like to present the show as it was originally when it debuted in October of 2017 saying “i'd like to tighten it up a little bit, if anything. I would like to sort of get it closer to what it was when I initially debuted it on Broadway than the way it was toward the end.”[10]

Tickets[edit]

In response to major issues with scalping and resales as seen on previous Springsteen tours, tickets were made available exclusively through Ticketmaster Verified Fan, a system put into place by Ticketmaster in February 2017. Ticket prices range from $75-$850.[11] Despite Ticketmaster's efforts to eliminate bots and resellers, tickets immediately appeared on resale sites such as Stubhub minutes after they went on sale. Several hundred tickets were available on StubHub with prices ranging from $1,800 to $6,700.[12][13] Due to scalper issues and the original run of dates selling out in minutes, Springsteen announced the residency would continue until February 3, 2018 with tickets for the newly announced dates going on sale September 7, 2017. A second extension to June 30, 2018, was later announced, with no new registrations being taken. Instead, people who had previously registered but were unable to get tickets would be contacted to give them the opportunity to purchase seats.[5]

Tickets for the second run of limited performances in 2021 went on sale June 10, 2021 through the show’s official ticketing provider SeatGeek. Audience members will be required to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination to enter the theatre. [14]

Program[edit]

Songs are interspersed with spoken word passages. The program below reflects the most common set of songs performed during the residency; see notes below for changes to the program made over the span of the residency.

  1. "Growin' Up" (from Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.)
  2. "My Hometown" (from Born in the U.S.A.)
  3. "My Father's House" (from Nebraska)
  4. "The Wish" (from Tracks)
  5. "Thunder Road" (from Born to Run)
  6. "The Promised Land" (from Darkness on the Edge of Town)
  7. "Born in the U.S.A." (from Born in the U.S.A.)
  8. "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" (from Born to Run)
  9. "Tougher Than the Rest" (from Tunnel of Love)
  10. "Brilliant Disguise" (from Tunnel of Love)
  11. "Long Walk Home" (from Magic)
  12. "The Rising" (from The Rising)
  13. "Dancing in the Dark" (from Born in the U.S.A.)
  14. "Land of Hope and Dreams" (from Wrecking Ball)
  15. "Born to Run" (from Born to Run)

Changes to program[edit]

  • "The Ghost of Tom Joad" was performed during previews, placed before "Long Walk Home," in place of "The Rising."[15]
  • "Long Time Comin'", from Devils & Dust, has been paired with "The Ghost of Tom Joad" for instances in which Patti Scialfa is unable to perform in the show, replacing "Tougher than the Rest" and "Brilliant Disguise," respectively; the first instance of this was on December 26, 2017, due to Scialfa catching the flu, and has occurred sporadically thereafter.[16]
  • On June 19, 2018, Springsteen deviated from the show's script after "Brilliant Disguise" to condemn the Trump administration family separation policy, and performed "The Ghost of Tom Joad" in place of "Long Walk Home," retaining this change for every show thereafter.[17]
  • On July 10, 2018, Springsteen performed an encore consisting of "This Hard Land" from his greatest hits album to make up for a shortened show that did not feature Scialfa, where only "Long Time Comin'" was performed in place of "Tougher Than the Rest" and "Brilliant Disguise," as "The Ghost of Tom Joad" was already in the set. Springsteen allowed fans to take photos and film the encore performance.[18]
  • For the 2021 run, Springsteen changed two songs and added one more. "I'll See You In My Dreams" replaced "Born to Run," "Fire" replaced "Brilliant Disguise," and he inserted "American Skin (41 Shots)" after some remarks about the ongoing civil unrest.

Netflix special and soundtrack album[edit]

Springsteen on Broadway premiered on Netflix in the early morning of December 16, 2018, just hours after the final Broadway performance closed. Filming for the concert special took place July 17 and 18, 2018, with a private audience in attendance.[19] A soundtrack album was released on December 14, 2018, to widespread acclaim from critics,[20] including Robert Christgau, who said "the Springsteen [work] this most recalls isn't like any earlier album but the 2016 autobiography he called Born to Run for better reasons than you might imagine. Like that fast-reading 508-pager, its aim is to simultaneously depict and demythologize the Jersey shore and poke major holes in an authenticity it reconceives at a truer level of complexity".[21]

Critical reaction[edit]

The New York Times said "as portraits of artists go, there may never have been anything as real – and beautiful – on Broadway".[22] Rolling Stone noted "it is one of the most compelling and profound shows by a rock musician in recent memory".[23] The Guardian observed "there's a fragility and a new light cast on the songs and his relationship with Scialfa, as if he stands in her emotional shadow".[24] Variety reported the show "is as much a self-made monument to its master's vision and hurricane-force ambition as it is to his life and career, and it bears the mark of a self-made man who’ll write his own history".[25]

On June 10, 2018, Springsteen received a special Tony Award for Springsteen on Broadway.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award nominations for Springsteen on Broadway
Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result
2018 Tony Awards[26] Special Tony Award Bruce Springsteen Won
2019 Primetime Emmy Awards[27] Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded) Springsteen on Broadway Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special Thom Zimny Won

Personnel[edit]

  • Bruce Springsteen – lead vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica
  • Patti Scialfa – backing vocals on "Brilliant Disguise" and "Tougher Than the Rest"

See also[edit]

  • Letter to You, a 2020 studio album by Springsteen featuring photographs shot by Danny Clinch while promoting this presentation

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Historical Grosses for Springsteen on Broadway". Broadway World. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  2. ^ Records, Columbia. "Springsteen on Broadway". Springsteen on Broadway. Archived from the original on August 9, 2017. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  3. ^ Ticketmaster (August 30, 2017). "#SpringsteenBroadway has been EXTENDED! More information coming today. There will NOT be any additional codes released for today's onsale.pic.twitter.com/xGY3rj3Yrl". twitter.com.
  4. ^ "Springsteen on Broadway – extended through February!". brucespringsteen.net.
  5. ^ a b Hetrick, Adam (November 27, 2017). "Springsteen on Broadway extends through June". Playbill. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  6. ^ Reed, Ryan (March 21, 2018). "Bruce Springsteen Extends Broadway Run Through December 2018". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  7. ^ "'Springsteen On Broadway' Returns For Limited Summer Run At The St. James Theatre". brucespringsteen.net. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  8. ^ Sisario, Ben (August 9, 2017). "Bruce Springsteen Is Bringing His Music and His Memories to Broadway". The New York Times. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  9. ^ "Bruce Springsteen rehearses Broadway show at Monmouth University". app.com.
  10. ^ "Bruce Springsteen on Broadway and beyond: E Street Band tour, new music coming". msn.com. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  11. ^ "OnsaleRegistration". springsteen.tmverifiedfan.com. Archived from the original on August 9, 2017. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  12. ^ "'Springsteen on Broadway': Tickets appear on Stubhub for over $6,000". www.msn.com.
  13. ^ "Bruce Springsteen on Broadway: Tickets on secondary market minutes after onsale". app.com.
  14. ^ https://seatgeek.com/springsteen-on-broadway-tickets
  15. ^ "Bruce Springsteen Opens Broadway Run with Tom Petty Dedication". rollingstone.com.
  16. ^ "Bruce Springsteen: Walter Kerr Theatre, Broadway, New York, 26/12/2017". maximumvolumemusic.com.
  17. ^ "Bruce Springsteen Condemns Trump's Inhumane Border Policy During Broadway Show". variety.com.
  18. ^ "Watch Bruce Springsteen Play First Encore of Broadway Run". rollingstone.com.
  19. ^ "Bruce Springsteen's Broadway Show is Becoming a Netflix Special". nytimes.com.
  20. ^ "Springsteen on Broadway". Metacritic. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  21. ^ Christgau, Robert (May 3, 2019). "Robert Christgau Reviews 'Springsteen on Broadway'". Vice. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  22. ^ Green, Jesse (October 12, 2017). "Review: 'Springsteen on Broadway' Reveals the Artist, Real and Intense". The New York Times. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  23. ^ Greene, Andy (October 13, 2017). "Review: Bruce Springsteen's Broadway Show Is an Intimate Triumph". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  24. ^ Barton, Laura (October 13, 2017). "Springsteen on Broadway review – joy and glory as the Boss unveils his flaws". the Guardian. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  25. ^ Aswad, Jem (October 12, 2017). "Theater Review: 'Springsteen on Broadway' Is an Intimate, Living Autobiography". Variety. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  26. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Bruce Springsteen and John Leguizamo to Receive 2018 Special Tony Awards" Playbill, May 1, 2018
  27. ^ "2019 Emmy nominations: Complete list". Los Angeles Times. July 16, 2019. Archived from the original on July 16, 2019.

External links[edit]