Rock icon Bruce Springsteen is set to make Broadway history this fall with a limited run of Springsteen on Broadway, an intimate solo concert that begins October 3 at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Springsteen will perform five shows a week during the run that has just been extended through January 2018.
The 20-time Grammy Award winner will give fans an up-close and personal evening that loosely follows that arc of his life and work. According to the Boss, “My show is just me, the guitar, the piano and the words and music. Some of the show is spoken, some of it is sung.”
Fans of Springsteen are already aware of his masterful storytelling, which blends the lyrical craft of character-driven American folk music with the vitality of pure rock and roll—essential ingredients found in the scores of numerous rock musicals.
For the uninitiated Broadway musical fan, take one listen to Springsteen’s “Thunder Road,” “Born in the U.S.A.,” or “Born to Run,” and you’ll get it.
We’ve dreamed up a wish list of musical theatre songs—inspired by Springsteen’s style—that we’d love to hear him throw into his set list.
“Fathers & Sons” from Working
Springsteen opened up about his difficult and distant relationship with his father in his memoir Born to Run. That relationship has been at the heart of many of Springsteen’s songs, including “Independence Day” from his 1980 album The River. Stephen Schwartz explores these themes in his rueful song from the short-lived Broadway musical about the American workforce.
“Soliloquy” from Carousel
When you think about it, Springsteen just might be the ultimate rock version of Billy Bigelow, the rough carnival barker from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1945 classic.
“River in the Rain” from Big River
Country musician Roger Miller won a Tony Award for his score to the Broadway musical adaptation of Mark Twain’s classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Springsteen is perfectly suited for this wistful, guitar-driven song.
“Wicked Little Town” from Hedwig and the Angry Inch
John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask’s scrappy, glam-rock musical is full of soul-searching musical moments. While “Origin of Love” might be the obvious choice, we went with “Wicked Little Town,” since the Boss loves a story about a small-town loner.
“Try to Remember” from The Fantasticks
Imagine this poignant classic from the long-running Off-Broadway musical performed by just the music icon strumming a guitar.
“It All Fades Away” from The Bridges of Madison County
Jason Robert Brown’s emotionally raw 11 o’clock number breaks open the character of National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid—a man who has spent a lifetime witnessing the world from the safe distance of “the world inside a frame.” It’s the kind of song the Boss was born to sing.
“Second Nature” from Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
The explosive and irreverent rock musical that reimagined America’s seventh president as an emo rocker, paid tribute to Springsteen in its Broadway promotional poster, which recreated the cover of his hit 1984 album “Born in the U.S.A.” Late in the show, the bandleader steps forward with just a guitar to deliver this poetic commentary on American culture, both past and present.