Bruce.November 6, 2017
On Broadway, Springsteen Channels His Inner Springsteen
Springsteen has said that the show was inspired by an acoustic concert he performed in the East Room of the White House in late 2016, for around two hundred and fifty people, an earnest parting gift to the Obama family. The night was heavy on storytelling, which loosely mirrored the chronology of his memoir, itself a kind of ur-American story—a rise from nothing to very, very much. In the nineteen-seventies, at the birth of his career, Springsteen often performed with the E Street Band at small night clubs (such as the Bottom Line, then on West Fourth Street, or the Stone Pony, in Asbury Park, New Jersey), bolstering those concerts with gripping and colorful yarns that drew on memories of his childhood along the Jersey Shore—his parents, his home town, old loves.
Springsteen has described “Springsteen on Broadway” as “a solidified piece of work,” a show in the old-fashioned sense. It is performed on piano, guitar, and harmonica, and Springsteen—arguably one of the most energetic and effective bandleaders in all of rock and roll—is alone, save for a glass of ice water and a brief appearance by his wife and musical partner, Patti Scialfa…
Our reactions to political commentaries are often cerebral—we argue, we grasp for evidence, we espouse, we agree, we get angry. He’s trying, instead, to reach the parts of us that are not so close. Springsteen’s mission has always been to be a useful conduit—to reflect or articulate something back at us. But he is a model, too, and “Springsteen on Broadway” contains suggestions on how to age: admit your flaws and inconsistencies, your put-ons, your masks, your fears and humiliations. Make room for them. Find freedom in the revelation. Let it lead to more art.
September 9, 2016
‘Come From Away’ Musical Tells Story of Resilience After 9/11
At the extent of the 9/11 attacks became known, 38 planes were rerouted to Gander, Newfoundland. More than 6,000 passengers and crew were taken in by families there. Their story is the subject of a new musical called, Come From Away, which runs at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., in September and October before heading to Broadway.
As we near the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, we’re reminded of many stories of courage and sorrow that emerged that day. One of the lesser known stories is the subject of a new musical “Come From Away.” It tells what happened in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland. More than 6,000 airline passengers were forced to land there on 9/11 after America’s airspace was closed. The play opened last night at Ford’s Theater in Washington, and NPR’s Wade Goodwyn saw it.