I'd like to propose a title change for myself from program director to executive program manager.
Born in the U. We've got magic to do, just for you We've got miracle plays to play We've got parts to perform, hearts to warm Kings and things to take by storm As we go along our way — "Magic to Do," Pippin From the Magic Rat to "magic in the night" to Magic Street, Bruce Springsteen is no stranger to the conjuring arts.
For decades, his concerts have been described as feats nothing short of miraculous, and he has discussed his own songwriting in terms of a magical act: Now he does it again. Written and directed by the man himself, Springsteen on Broadway is an act of alchemy, taking familiar elements — from his songbook, his concerts particularly his solo tourshis memoir — and combining them, with a new venue, to create something we've never seen before, something that has had preview audiences… well, spellbound.
Opening October 12, the performance starts simply — not with a familiar "Good evening, New York City! In fact, as simple starts go, this is almost as basic as it gets: That is just one of "the elements that will come in handy should you come face-to-face with eighty thousand screaming fans who are waiting for you to do your magic trick.
Waiting for you to pull something out of your hat, out of thin air, out of this world…. I am here to provide proof of life to that ever elusive, never completely believable 'us.
Chekhov would probably agree: And Springsteen doesn't let us down. It's hard to say exactly when it happens — it's a gradual effect, a gathering of forces, a calling-up of spirits, great greasepaint ghosts on the wind — but by the end of this at-times mesmerizing performance we've found that proof of life.
Springsteen on Broadway is a true theatrical performance, with a script, an arc, and a fourth wall to break. It might have been difficult to imagine this new endeavor as anything but a stay-put solo tour, as a residency.
But this is not a series of concerts — it's a one-man show with all due respect to Patti that Springsteen has carefully crafted, rehearsed, and honed to perform night after night. It's greasepaint and footlights, without either of those being literally true.
Which might not be remarkable for any other extravaganza on the Great White Way, but for an artist who rarely plays the same set twice, who is known, loved, and lauded for his on-stage spontaneity, it might seem a startling change of pace. It's not quite a new trick for an old dog, though.
The secret that's not quite a secret among Springsteen fans is that his concerts are rarely quite as unscripted as they appear.
Sure, he can turn his band on a dime, call audibles left and right, teach his horn section a new song on the fly. But there's also a careful choreography to an E Street Band concert not necessarily evident the first time you see it. The second time you see it, you might be astonished to realize how much is a clockwork part of the show: Springsteen is a showman par excellence.
And making things seem spontaneous is part of his job, part of his craft — call it the illusion of the first time. Which makes a Broadway show of this kind a not-so-illogical endeavor. It all happens on a spare stage. In keeping with his career aesthetic — Springsteen's staging over the years has been minimal, other than the occasional Super Bowl fireworks or mammoth flag backdrop — there's very little to distract from the performance itself.
There's not even a curtain.
Theatergoers arrive to find the set waiting, all blacks and grays; the dark brick wall in the back, by appearances, could be a freshly painted set or the old bones of the place. There's a barred window stage right; dim, industrial pendant lamps; and most prominently, a grand piano.
Heather Wolensky's scenic design evokes a black and white photograph — say, Springsteen photographed by Eric Meola 40 years ago, under a fire escape on a city street.
Lighting designer Natasha Katz will soon work subtle wonders with color on this near-black box stage, illuminating that back wall, streaming in like sunlight or like beams through cellar windows.
Wrecking Ball imagery also comes to mind, with the tools of Springsteen's trade on view and little else:Jun 27, · At some point in your career, you may find your job role and responsibilities are more aligned with a manager's position than that of a regular employee.
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