|The Tina Turner Musical|
by Tina Turner
|Premiere||17 April 2018Aldwych Theatre, London:|
|Productions||2018 West End|
2022 US Tour
Tina: The Tina Turner Musical is a jukebox musical featuring the music of Tina Turner and depicting her life from her humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee, to her transformation into a rock 'n roll superstar. Directed by Phyllida Lloyd with a book by Katori Hall, Frank Ketelaar, and Kees Prins, the musical had its world premiere on 17 April 2018 at the Aldwych Theatre in London. The Broadway production opened on 7 November 2019.
The musical opens with Tina preparing to go on stage, as she recites a Buddhist chant, nam myoho renge kyo.
In 1950s Nutbush Tennessee, a young Anna Mae Bullock sings exuberantly at a community church gathering ("Nutbush City Limits"). Her mother Zelma is embarrassed at her loudness and reprimands her. Anna Mae's parents have a difficult relationship, and after being physically assaulted, Zelma walks out with her eldest daughter Alline. Anna Mae is left alone to be brought up by her grandmother, Gran Georgeanna.
Some years later, Gran Georgeanna encourages Anna Mae to go to Memphis and record an album. With Gran Georgeanna's encouragement, Anna Mae leaves to go join her mother and sister, Alline, in St. Louis ("Don't Turn Around"). In St. Louis Alline gives Anna Mae a makeover and introduces her to the nightlife ("Shake a Tail Feather"). At a nightclub, Anna Mae sees Ike Turner and his band, the Kings of Rhythm ("The Hunter"). Anna Mae is encouraged to sing on stage with Ike ("Matchbox"). Realizing her potential, Ike persuades Zelma to let Anna Mae join his band ("It's Gonna Work Out Fine").
Ike changes the name of the band to the "Ike and Tina Turner Revue", and gives her the stage name "Tina Turner". An attraction is sparked between Tina and Raymond Hill, the band's saxophonist. Although Tina enjoys performing with Ike and the Ikettes, she becomes increasingly aware of his vicious temper and possessiveness ("A Fool in Love"). Ike is physically violent towards her, and leaves with a female stranger. While he is gone, Raymond confesses his love for Tina, despite her attempts to end the love affair ("Let's Stay Together").
The band is refused accommodation at a motel because of their race, with Ike telling the band that the new civil rights haven't changed people's attitudes. As the band sleeps in the bus, Ike tells Tina about his father who was brutally assaulted for having a relationship with a white woman. In addition, Ike is resentful that his first hit, Rocket 88, was credited to someone else. He has Tina make a promise that she will never leave him, and asks Tina to marry him. Tina agrees, despite being pregnant with Raymond's child. As they are about to leave, two white police officers intimidate them and Ike is forced to pay them to avoid harm.
Raymond finds out about the engagement, and after warning Tina about Ike, he leaves. Rhonda Graam is introduced as the band's new manager, and Tina reveals she is pregnant with Raymond's child ("Better Be Good to Me"). As they continue touring, Tina becomes increasingly isolated from Ike as he begins taking drugs and sleeping with other women. She continues performing with Ike and his band, even while pregnant and eventually giving birth to her son, Craig. Tina still keeps performing with Ike and his band, despite Ike's infidelities, increasing violence, and demands of Tina's health despite her having another child, Ronnie ("I Want to Take You Higher"). The Ikettes leave the band because of Ike's behavior, and unsuccessfully try to convince Tina to leave as well. They introduce her to a Buddhist chant nam myoho renge kyo, to help give her strength. Rhonda admits to Tina she is only staying to help protect Tina and begs Tina to leave Ike, but she refuses because of her children.
Ike and Tina meet with Phil Spector, who offers them a recording deal. Ike is angered when Phil wants to record Tina as a solo artist. Phil guides Tina through a song he wrote for her, and Tina begins to find her "voice" ("River Deep Mountain High"). Despite the success of her new single, Ike is dismissive of Tina's ability as a solo artist. During an argument, Ike assaults her son, Craig. Tina threatens to leave Ike, but he apologises and begs for her forgiveness ("Be Tender with Me Baby"). Tina overdoses and is sent to a hospital, but is forced to check out for a performance ("Proud Mary"). Zelma tells Tina that she must teach Ike a lesson.
Tina and Ike get into another violent fight, causing Tina to run away. Bruised and bleeding, she asks a hotel clerk for a room to stay, using only her stage name as a promise to pay later since she doesn't have any money ("I Don't Wanna Fight").
Divorced from Ike, Tina is in debt and forced to perform in Las Vegas bars with the help of Rhonda, now her manager. They're struggling to make ends meet because no record label wants to sign a black woman who's nearing forty years old, and Ike has claimed copyright over all songs from the "Ike & Tina Revue", preventing her from singing the songs she's known for ("Private Dancer").
As they drop off a demo tape at Capitol Records, they meet Roger Davies, a young Australian music producer who is a fan of Tina. Roger watches Tina perform in Las Vegas ("Disco Inferno"), and becomes her manager. Despite being upset about being put aside, Rhonda understands Tina needs to try something new. Tina tells Rhonda she needs her more as a sister, and Rhonda promises to stand by Tina's side ("Open Arms"). When Tina arrives in London, she meets Erwin Bach, who was sent to pick up Tina at the airport. Tina struggles with Roger's advice as she wants to reinvent herself. Tina feels lonely and isolated, and dreams of Ike watching her ("I Can't Stand the Rain"). Erwin comes to her hotel room and comforts her, and they share a kiss.
While preparing for a showcase for the record label, Tina becomes upset at Roger's instructions and does not want to be anyone's puppet. Tina prepares her Buddhist mantra to calm herself, and has visions of her younger self and Gran Georgeanna encouraging her ("Tonight"). Despite the showcase's success, the record label refuses to sign Tina because of her age, gender, and race. Furious, Roger quits the label and decides to promote her himself in the United States. Erwin declares his love for her and asks her to stay in London with him, but Tina rejects him. Tina successfully performs in New York City ("What's Love Got to Do with It?"). Capitol Records begs her to sign with them, but Tina agrees only on her own terms.
Alline arrives with news Zelma is dying. Tina visits Zelma at the hospital, who admits she struggled raising Tina. Ike also visits, and Zelma encourages them to reconcile. Tina is hurt her mother can't see Ike's abusive behavior, and Ike refuses to apologize. Tina and Alline mourn their mother ("We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)"). Tina realizes she is surrounded by people who form her own version of a family.
Riding high, Tina prepared for a concert in front of 180,000 people in Brazil. Roger and Tina share excitement. Erwin suddenly appears, having flown to be with her. They reconcile and share a kiss. Tina ascends the stairs for the concert ("The Best").
Encore: Tina and her band perform a mini-concert of "Nutbush City Limits" and "Proud Mary".
|Character||West End||Broadway||Hamburg||Utrecht||Madrid||North American tour||Sydney|
|Tina Turner||Adrienne Warren||Kristina Love||Nyassa Alberta||Kery Sankoh||Naomi Rodgers
|Ike Turner||Kobna Holdbrook-Smith||Daniel J. Watts||Mandela Wee Wee||Juneoer Mers||Rone Reinoso||Garrett Turner||Tim Omaji|
|Zelma Bullock||Madeline Appiah||Dawnn Lewis||Adisat Semenitsch||Noah Blindenburg||Juno Kotto King||Roz White||Ibinabo Jack|
|Erwin Bach||Gerard McCarthy||Ross Lekites||Simon Mehlich||Dieter Spileers||Oriol Anglada||Max Falls||Matthew Prime|
|Gran Georgeanna||Lorna Gayle||Myra Lucretia Taylor||Adi Wolf||Jeannine la Rose||Ileana Wilson||Ann Nesby||Deni Gordon|
|Roger Davies||Ryan O’Donnell||Charlie Franklin||Nikolas Heiber||Steven Roox||Pedro Martell||Zachary Freier-Harrison||Mat Verevis|
|Rhonda Graam||Francesca Jackson||Jessica Rush||Sarah Schütz||Liss Walravens||Anna Lagares||Lael Van Keuren||Nadia Komazec|
|Alline Bullock||Aisha Jawando||Mars Rucker||Denise Lucia Aquino||Gaia Aikman||Aisha Fay||Parris Lewis||Jayme-Lee Hanekom|
|Phil Spector / Terry Britten||Tom Godwin||Steven Booth||Alex Bellinkx||Jasper Kerkhof||Carlos Báez||Geoffrey Kidwell||John O’Hara|
|Raymond Hill||Natey Jones||Gerald Caesar||Anthony Curtis Kirby||Owen Playfair||Yefry Xander||Taylor A. Blackman||Rishab Kern|
|Richard Bullock||David Jennings||Kristofer Weinstein-Storey||Marlon David Henry||Kevin Tuku||Carlton Terrence Taylor||Augie Tchantcho|
|Carpenter / Martyn Ware||Jason Langley||Robert Lenzi||Marlon Wehmeier||Danny Houtkooper||Nico Baumgärtner||Chris Stevens||Blake Erickson|
|Craig Hill||Kit Esuruoso||Matthew Griffin||Michael B. Sattler||Giovanni van Gom||Marcos Oli||Andre Hinds||David Mairs-McKenzie|
|Ronnie Turner||Baker Mukasa||Jhardon Dishon Milton||Dinipiri Etebu||Lorenzo Kolf||Hansel Moya||Antonio Beverly||Abu Kebe|
- Tina Turner: Nkeki Obi-Melekwe, Aisha Jawando, Elesha Paul Moses, Kristina Love, Karis Anderson
- Ike Turner: Ashley Zhangazha, Jammy Kasongo, Caleb Roberts, Okezie Morro
North American tour
- Ike Turner: Roderick Lawrence
- Songwriters in parentheses
- In the Broadway production "Rocket 88" replaced "The Hunter" and "She Made My Blood Run Cold" was included after "Matchbox"
On 16 December 2016 a workshop presentation was held with Tina Turner in attendance, announcing that a biographical musical about Tina's life had been in development by Stage Entertainment for over a year. The creative team of the musical consists of Katori Hall, with Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins as writers of the book, Phyllida Lloyd as the director, Mark Thompson as set and costume designer, Anthony van Laast as choreographer and Nicholas Skilbeck as musical supervisor. Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins wrote the early draft of the book, with Katori Hall taking over partway through development.
West End (2018–present)
The show began previews on 21 March 2018 at the Aldwych Theatre, officially opened on 17 April. Adrienne Warren played the title role, with Jenny Fitzpatrick alternating in the role in some performances. The production was nominated for three Laurence Olivier Awards, including Best Musical. After Warren's departure, the title role has been played by Nkeki Obi-Melekwe, Aisha Jawando, Elesha Paul Moses,  Kristina Love, and Karis Anderson.
The show began on Broadway in previews at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on 12 October 2019 and officially opened on 7 November 2019. Warren reprised the title role in the Broadway production, with direction by Phyllida Lloyd and choreography by Anthony van Laast. The show was suspended on 12 March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resumed performances on 8 October 2021. In June 2022, it was announced that the production is slated to close on 14 August 2022 after 27 previews and 482 regular performances.
On 9 February 2020, the show opened at the Beatrix theater in Utrecht, the Netherlands. After the suspension of the show a little more than a month after its opening, performances resumed on 14 July 2021. The show closed in February 2023.
North American National Tour (2022–present)
The musical received generally positive reviews from the critics, with particular praise reserved for Adrienne Warren in the title role as Tina Turner. Michael Billington of The Guardian described the "whirlwind performance" of Warren as "astonishing", and concluded on the production: "As bio-musicals go, this is as good as it gets." Similarly Dominic Cavendish of The Daily Telegraph described Warren's performance as a "tour de force" and considered the show "slickly choreographed, beautifully designed and roof-raisingly well-sung". Adam Mattera in Echoes noted "the production plays fast and loose with catalogue chronology... it's a crowd-pleasing decision meaning all the solo mega-hits aren't squeezed into the final act, but simultaneously it derails the dramatic reveal of Tina's 80s rock'n'roll reinvention," while concluding "it's so resounding joyous you don't care."
Will Gompertz of the BBC criticised the script as "rather disappointingly two-dimensional", but thought the musical "elegantly staged" with Warren a "24-carat, all singing, all dancing, bona fide star". Stephen Dalton of The Hollywood Reporter noted that while its grand finale contains "stilted, corny elements", "the production becomes a full-blooded rock show that is "roof-raising" and "life-affirming", with a climax that "swept the crowd to its feet. Pure button-pushing melodrama, maybe. But irresistibly uplifting entertainment, too."
Awards and nominations
Original West End production
|2018||Evening Standard Theatre Award||Best Musical Performance||Adrienne Warren||Nominated|
|Best Director||Phyllida Lloyd||Nominated|
|Stage Debut Award||Best West End Debut||Adrienne Warren||Nominated|
|2019||Laurence Olivier Award||Best New Musical||Nominated|
|Best Actress in a Musical||Adrienne Warren||Nominated|
|Best Actor in a Musical||Kobna Holdbrook-Smith||Won|
|Black British Theatre Award||Best Musical Production||Nominated|
|Best Male Actor in a Musical||Kobna Holdbrook-Smith||Nominated|
|WhatsOnStage Award||Best New Musical||Nominated|
|Best Actress in a Musical||Adrienne Warren||Nominated|
|Best Actor in a Musical||Kobna Holdbrook-Smith||Nominated|
|Best Show Poster||Nominated|
|2020||Black British Theatre Award||Best Musical||Nominated|
|Best Female Actor in a Musical||Aisha Jawando||Nominated|
Original Broadway production
|2020||Tony Awards||Best Musical||Nominated|
|Best Book of a Musical||Katori Hall, Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical||Adrienne Warren||Won|
|Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical||Daniel J. Watts||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical||Myra Lucretia Taylor||Nominated|
|Best Direction of a Musical||Phyllida Lloyd||Nominated|
|Best Choreography||Anthony Van Laast||Nominated|
|Best Orchestrations||Ethan Popp||Nominated|
|Best Scenic Design of a Musical||Mark Thompson and Jeff Sugg||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design of a Musical||Mark Thompson||Nominated|
|Best Lighting Design of a Musical||Bruno Poet||Nominated|
|Best Sound Design of a Musical||Nevin Steinberg||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Awards||Outstanding Actress in a Musical||Adrienne Warren||Won|
|Outstanding Costume Design of a Musical||Mark Thompson||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lighting Design of a Musical||Bruno Poet||Nominated|
|Outstanding Wig and Hair Design||Campbell Young Associates||Won|
|Drama League Awards||Outstanding Production of a Musical||Nominated|
|Distinguished Performance Award||Adrienne Warren||Nominated|
|Outer Critics Circle Awards||Outstanding New Broadway Musical||Honoree|
|Outstanding Choreographer||Anthony Van Laast||Honoree|
|Outstanding Actress in a Musical||Adrienne Warren||Honoree|
|Outstanding Featured in a Musical||Daniel J. Watts||Honoree|
|Outstanding Costume Design||Mark Thompson||Honoree|
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