The show begins with Tina in her prime about to take the stage. She takes a moment of quiet to center herself, and then we see her life play out before us, until we arrive back at that moment. We watch as little Anna Mae finds joy in singing despite the darkness of her childhood in a small town in Tennessee, follow her to St. Louis where she meets future husband and musical partner Ike, who names her Tina, and continue on her journey to freedom from the abusive relationship and a new career and love. It's a lot to cover in one show (even one that's too long at nearly three hours), but we get the overview of her life if not the details. It's a bit jarring to go from scarily realistic scenes of domestic violence to upbeat musical numbers to introspective performance art pieces, but that's what her life was and this musical puts us right there in it. A nice touch is the appearance of Tina's ancestors in her big moments, as she always remembers who she is and where she came from.
|photo by Matthew Murphy|
The end of the show turns into a full-blown Tina Turner concert, including a couple of post-curtain call numbers, and it's the biggest thrill of the night. The fabulous 11-piece band (over half of whom are local musicians) is finally revealed in all its glory, and Tina parades up and down a neon staircase, with the entire cast dancing. It becomes a celebration of all that Tina has accomplished despite the hardships along the way.
See Tina - The Tina Turner Musical at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Minneapolis now through March 12.
Join me and my fellow Twin Cities Theater Bloggers for a special event at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres! Get $20 off the ticket price for the March 4 matinee performance of the regional premiere of the super fun and heart-warming musical The Prom, and stick around after the show for a talk-back with some of the cast. Read my review of The Prom here, find more info about the event in the Facebook event here, and purchase discount tickets using code TCTB1 or by clicking on this link (discount valid for any performance through March 12).