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  • Megan Kudla

Tina: The Tina Turner Musical Is Simply the Best!

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

The name “Tina Turner” has turned heads and evoked powerful emotions for years, both because of her esteemed status as the Queen of Rock n’ Roll, as well as her powerful story of great resilience. The 1993 movie, “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” was critically acclaimed, bringing her life journey to the public audience in a big way.

Years later, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical graced Broadway for the first time in London in 2018. Now, it’s touring across the US, finding a home in Chicago until April 2, 2023.

The story itself is incredibly moving; moreover, the scenography, casting, and costuming helps lift it to new levels. The scenic projections not only place us in a time and space, which moves the story along, but they also incite emotion, supporting the words, the songs, and the actions on stage.

Zurin Villanueva performing _Higher_ as ‘Tina Turner’ and the cast of the North American touring production of TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL. Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade, 2022, featured in Round Trip with Colleen Kelly article, "Tina: The Tina Turner Musical Is Simply the Best"
Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade, 2022

Also well thought-out is the lighting, working in tandem with the projections to achieve a similar goal–and, additionally, inviting the audience intimately in. A favorite moment was when spotlights broke the fourth wall and scanned the entire theater for an attendee to join the young “Ike Turner” up on stage (of course, landing on “Anna Mae,” soon to be “Tina Turner”). It's a hint of immersive theater that allows the onlookers to feel like participants.

Zurin Villanueva showed her theatrical prowess as “Tina,” bringing us closer to Tina Turner’s journey: her hardships and triumphs, as well as her indescribably incredible voice and stage presence. It can only be assumed that Ari Groover also brings rich performance to this role.

The show ends on an uplifting note, with the audience dancing and singing as one, bringing the entire theater together in a rock concert-like moment that celebrates the music and the impact of Tina Turner.

The national tour of Tina: The Tina Turner Musical is in Chicago, playing at the James M. Nederlander Theatre until April 2, 2023.

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Cover photo by Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade, 2022.


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