May 20, 2024


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Alicia Keys’ “Hell’s Kitchen” will open on Broadway this spring

Alicia Keys’ “Hell’s Kitchen” will open on Broadway this spring

“Hell’s Kitchen,” a loosely based fantasy inspired by Keyes’ childhood, depicts a short chapter in the life of a 17-year-old who grows up surrounded by performers in a New York housing project where most of the units are subsidized for the performers. The novel’s heroine, a girl raised by her single mother, discovers her love of the piano and her attraction to a grown man, while chafing at her mother’s efforts to keep her safe in a gritty neighborhood.

The musical features new arrangements of Keys’ biggest hits, including “Fallin’,” “Girl on Fire,” “No One,” and “Empire State of Mind,” as well as several new songs the pop star wrote for the show. Keyes, who does not perform in “Hell’s Kitchen,” has been working on the play for more than a decade with playwright Christopher Diaz, who wrote the book.

In an unusual move that demonstrates Keys’ longstanding determination to retain control of her intellectual property and career, the music’s primary producer will be AKW Productions, a company Keys owns and describes as “focused on creating diverse, real, authentic, and authentic products.” Stories in film, television, theater and music. Asked if the theatrical production, like most commercial Broadway musicals, would also have investors, Keys said: “Yes, there will be some really special people coming along for the ride.”

The musical is directed by Michael Greif and choreographed by Camille A. Brown. The downtown cast is led by Malih Joy Moon as the protagonist, joined by Shoshanna Bean as the mother, Brandon Victor Dixon as the absent father, and Kexia Lewis as the piano teacher. The Broadway cast has not yet been announced.

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Reviews were mixed, with many critics praising the performances and production but saying they wanted more from the story. Writing in The New York Times, critic Jesse Green called the first act “exciting”, but said it was “disappointing after the mid-show intermission.” In the Washington Postcritic Peter Marks was underwhelmed, calling it “an absolutely brilliant musical”, but… In the Los Angeles Timescritic Charles McNulty was much more enthusiastic, writing: “I was surprised by how excited I was to fall under the spell of music.”