After a forced shutdown of fourteen months, Broadway is slowly re-awakening and the first eyelid to flicker open is that of a certain Bruce Springsteen. The Boss reanimates his blowout hit of a few years ago, now at the St. James Theatre – “Springsteen on Broadway.”
This is no arena sing-along event with his fabulous E Street Band or a rollicking jukebox musical. Instead it is an intimate affair with the man himself (and a couple of numbers with his wife of thirty years, Patti Scialfa). He is a troubadour of his own history performing alone at the piano or with a guitar and harmonica. Though the evening is the work of a single artist, his presence and his artistry easily fills the theatre.
He relates tales of his youth and his family, stories of road trips and concerts and special talented friends and associates. But the focus is very much on himself and how his upbringing and his environment shaped him and his music. To illustrate his story he uses revelatory versions of his familiar canon, reimagined to show the pain and protest that has all along been deep inside his extensive body of work.
He is back for a limited run with a following show already blocking any extension. Ticket prices are familiarly steep, but a lottery exits with the lure of somewhat cheaper tickets. (We were fortunate to see it at a free invited final dress rehearsal and are deeply grateful for the opportunity.) If you have not already, it is well worth seeing this performance of a unique artist of our time. It was a wonderful way to spend an evening back on Broadway and a portal into the creation of his iconic contemporary popular music.