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Hell’s Kitchen review – Alicia Keys jukebox musical is a marvel - BlogBookMark.com - Welcome Press "Enter" to skip to content

****’s Kitchen review – Alicia Keys jukebox musical is a marvel

The Public Theater, New York

The star helps craft a show-stopping semi-autobiographical off-Broadway musical that brings the house down

Ah yes, the jukebox musical. That darling of fat-cat Broadway producers looking to make a quick buck by bringing a beloved songbook to life and packing the house night after night. Leaning on chart-topping numbers strung together via minimal dialogue, these mix-tape shows can also feel slapdash and witless, so much that the New York Times critic Jesse Green called jukebox musicals “the cockroach of musicals”.

****’s Kitchen, Alicia Keys’s live-wire theatrical adaptation of her own hit list, puts the rest of the genre to shame. Over a dozen years in the making, the show, which makes its off-Broadway debut at the Public Theater (where Hamilton had its original run), is no rewarmed songbook. It’s a surprisingly loose-limbed and rousing celebration of love, music and a pre-TikTokified New York City, directed by Michael Greif (Rent, Dear Evan Hansen) and overseen by Keys, who had a hand in everything from the fly-girl dance routines to the casting of understudies. A recent preview performance had members of the audience losing their minds, raising their arms in the air mid-song and wiping tears from their eyes between numbers.

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