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Tina Turner’s Iconic Legacy Comes Alive at Kravis Center

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Resilience, Redemption and Rock ‘n’ Roll, Tina Turner’s Unforgettable Story Takes Center Stage in a Dazzling Theatrical Experience.

March 12th, 2024

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical takes the stage at the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts as a part of the Kravis On Broadway series for eight performances on March 12-17. An uplifting comeback story like no other, the show is the inspiring journey of a woman who broke barriers and became the Queen of Rock n’ Roll. One of the world’s best-selling artists of all time, Tina Turner won 12 Grammy Awards and her live shows were seen by millions, with more concert tickets sold than any other solo performer in music history. The musical features classic Tina Turner songs such as “Let’s Stay Together”, “Better Be Good to Me,” “River Deep – Mountain High,” “Proud Mary,” “Private Dancer,” What’s Love Got to Do With It?,” “We Don’t Need Another Hero” and “Simply the Best.”

In 1984 Tina Turner achieved her first No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “What’s Love Got to Do with It.” Her follow-up singles “Better Be Good to Me” and “Private Dancer” were both US top 10 hits. Later that year, when she won three Grammys at the 27th Annual Grammy Awards she cemented her monumental success as a solo artist. While she’d had prior success with then husband Ike Turner as a part of Ike and Tina Turner, and their partnership produced the iconic song “Proud Mary,” she’d struggled establishing herself as a solo artist since their split (professional and marital) in 1978.

Suddenly it wasn’t about the songs she was singing as much as it was about the woman singing the songs. The country was hungry to know about Tina, and her journey to the top. Her 1986 autobiography I Tina led the way to the 1993 award winning film What’s Love Got to Do With It. It only makes sense that a biographical musical like Tina – The Tina Turner Musical would follow, allowing adoring Tina Turner fans a chance to watch an unfolding story of her life set to familiar and beloved songs. But fans should be aware that this is not a tribute concert, or a jukebox musical. The songs are woven together with additional original music to tell the story of Tina’s life, from her troubled childhood to her tumultuous and abusive marriage to Ike Turner. Though peppered with other people, this story is really about them.

At the top of the show, we see an anxious Tina Turner standing backstage waiting to go on, surrounded by the memories of the people and events that have brought her to this moment. On her knees, she pauses to gather herself before going on stage, with the Buddhist mantra “Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo,” and we the audience are transported back in time so that her story can start from the beginning.

Ari Groover as Tina is a powerhouse performer with an unstoppable singing voice in a role that is surely exhausting. There is scarcely a moment when she is not on stage, and few of the scenes are book scenes, so she is a whirlwind of singing and dancing. Her portrayal of Tina is filled with strength and determination, but is perhaps in need of more moments of vulnerability.

A talented Deon Releford-Lee has the unenviable job of playing the physically and verbally abusive Ike Turner. Whatever demons the real-life Ike attempted to deal with through his years of drug addiction and 14 marriages are left unexamined. It is about the man he is during his time with Tina. Deon’s commanding performance provides an Ike with a certain degree of understated charm. He is not a caricature, but rather a man caught up in his impulse to enjoy whatever access to the pleasures of the world he has. Lashing out (literally) when contradicted or questioned. Note: The theme of domestic violence is dealt with frankly in this show, so decide accordingly as to whether you wish to bring minors.

The ensemble demonstrated their talent and versatility by embodying diverse roles, from church choir singers to 70’s disco dancers, as well as the various backup dancers associated with Ike and Tina Turner over the years. However, staging occasionally posed challenges. Its utilization varied, alternating between a performance-oriented approach, emotional reflection, and symbolic abstraction. The choreographer needed to define a consistent direction. Nevertheless, the inventive use of projection art and stage lighting elevated the production, effectively utilizing the expansive Kravis stage.

Will you hear your favorite Tina Turner songs? Sure – just maybe not in the way you may be expecting!  Don’t get me wrong. The live band both on and off stage sounds awesome, and the singers are all top-notch. It’s just that the context of the song within the storyline dictates whether it is sung presentational as in a performance, or reflectively as in the privacy of a secret moment. That in turn may change the way the singer chooses to interpret the song, so they aren’t going to be like they were on the radio. What’s nice about this approach is it takes a closer look at the meaning of the lyrics and gives some fresh takes on familiar melodies. Never fear! The end of the show culminates in Tina taking the stage for one of her live concerts with a version of “Simply the Best” with all the stops out, complete with an amazing light show. After the bows are encore performances of “Nut Bush City Limits” and ‘Proud Mary” that brought and kept the audience on their feet as they cheered and sang along. In the words of the audience member behind me “What a way to go, I wish the whole show had been like this!”

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical was written by Tony Award nominee and Pulitzer Prize winner Katori Hall with Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins, and Produced by Stage Entertainment, James L. Nederlander and Tali Pelman, in association with Tina Turner. It was directed by Tony Award nominee Phyllida Lloyd with choreography by Tony Award nominee Anthony van Laast, set and costume designs by Tony Award nominee Mark Thompson, Music Supervision, Arrangements & Incidental Music by Nicholas Skilbeck, lighting by Tony Award nominee Bruno Poet, sound by Tony Award nominee Nevin Steinberg, projection design by Tony Award nominee Jeff Sugg, orchestrations by Tony Award nominee Ethan Popp, wigs, hair and makeup design by Drama Desk Award winner Campbell Young Associates, and casting by The Telsey Office.

The musical originally opened on Broadway on November 7, 2019, was nominated for 12 Tony Awards including Best Musical. The production reopened at Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on October 8, 2021, following the 18-month industry wide shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Broadway production ended performances Sunday, August 14, 2021. Follow @TinaBroadway on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

This North American touring cast is led by Ari Groover (TINA Broadway, Head Over HeelsHoller If Ya hear MeLittle Shop of Horrors) and Parris Lewis (Hairspray) who will evenly share the role of Tina Turner, each playing four (of eight) performances a week. Also starring are Deon Releford-Lee as Ike Turner, Roz White as Zelma Bullock, Wydetta Carter as Gran Georgeanna and Sarah Bockel as Rhonda.

The ensemble includes John Battagliese, Brittny Benai Smith, Daelyanna Kelly Benson, Antonio Beverly, Ben Bogen, Karen Burthwright, Brianna Cameron, Andrew Eckert, Amahri Edwards-Jones, Gordia Hayes,  Andre Hinds, Crystal Joy, Symphony King, Kendall LeShanti, GiGi Lewis, Natalia Nappo, Nia Nelson-Williams, Terance Reddick, Shari Washington,Rone, Eric Siegle, Christine Suddeth, Rowan Vickers, Dylan S. Wallach, Kristopher Stanley Ward, Gerard M. Williams.

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical’s Kravis Center engagement runs March 12-17. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with matinee performances Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Individual tickets for this show start at $34 may be purchased online at kravis.org. To purchase by phone or in person, call 561.832.7469 or visit the Box Office Monday through Saturday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at 701 Okeechobee Blvd. In West Palm Beach. Orders for groups of 10 or more may be placed by calling (561) 651-4438.

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