Everything you need to know about TINA: The Tina Turner Musical
| By Jade Ali
Critically acclaimed, TINA: The Musical has made itself right at home in the West End since opening at the Aldwych Theatre back in April 2018, and it’s simply the best. Here’s everything you need to know about the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s bio-musical.
Is TINA the life story of Tina Turner?
TINA: The Musical is just that – a musical about her life; the more well-known aspects of her career and her private life. Everyone knows Tina Turner and/or her hits Proud Mary, Let’s Stay Together and What’s Love Got To Do With It?, but this critically acclaimed musical is the insight into Tina’s life you may not have realised you needed.
Tina’s story began back in 1939 when she was born Anna-Mae Bullock in Nutbush, Tennessee. At the tender age of 11, she is left in the care of her grandmother when her mother leaves her abusive marriage; her father later remarried. It's not until the age of 16 that she reunites with her mother, Zelma, and her sister, Alline, in St. Louis where she also happens to meet Ike Turner. In 1960, Ike changes her name to Tina Turner, and just two years later, despite the abuse she’s already suffered at Ike’s hand, the pair get married. This musical shows great insight into just how this abusive marriage played a huge role in not just her life but her career as well. The production shines a light on Tina’s successes and hardships. Her battles and struggles shape a lot of her story and this musical doesn’t shy away from them, giving you a greater admiration for this pop culture icon.
TINA: The Musical isn’t the first time Tina’s life has made for a successful story. In 1986, Tina published an autobiography titled I, Tina, which was turned into a feature film in 1993. The film starred Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne, both of whom received Academy Award nominations for Best Actor and Actress respectively. Bassett also won a Golden Globe for Best Actress for her performance. TINA also isn’t the first musical about Tina Turner; Soul Sister opened in 2012 and the production achieved varied success over the course of its three runs.
Is the soundtrack just Tina Turner songs?
Why would you want to listen to anything else?! Tina has such a vast discography under her belt so that there really is no need to look elsewhere to pack out the soundtrack to this musical. Besides, what better way to tell the story of her life than through her songs?
There is one song on the soundtrack however, that isn’t a Tina Turner song and that comes from Bonnie Tyler with Don’t Turn Around. Don’t worry though, you’ll definitely be hearing all the hits and favourites from Tina’s work with ex-husband Ike Turner, her solo career and even her duet with the legendary David Bowie.
The majority of the audience will go into this musical excited to hear their personal favourite hit, but it’s River Deep – Mountain High that is bound to make the biggest impact. It’s this song that marks the turning point for Tina. This is the song that changes everything, the one that helped Tina find her own voice as well as having made her name known worldwide.
The soundtrack is, in fact, so well loved that the production will soon be releasing a cast recording album!
Was Tina Turner involved with bringing this musical to life?
Can you write a musical based on someone’s life without them being involved? Well, it’s possible of course, but what better way to remain true to her story than to work with Tina Turner herself? The musical was written by Olivier award-winning playwright Katori Hall, and Tina worked alongside the creatives in order to create the perfect portrayal of her life story in musical form. She even flew over to London in 2016 for the first workshop presentation.
Tina herself has always spoken out about how much it means for her to have been so involved. Through the workshops, Tina offered tons of advice and added a number of little things, which the show's director, Phyllida Lloyd (Mamma Mia!), added in over time. Adrienne Warren, who stars as Tina Turner in the musical, has praised Tina for all the encouragement and advice she received. Warren describes Tina as “absolutely the best” and boasts how much of a 'Proud Mary' she feels of her work on this production.
Is Tina: The Musical just another ‘jukebox’ musical?
A jukebox musical, in simple terms, means a musical that features the songs of popular music acts. This has been a popular style for musicals for many years, but it wasn’t until Mamma Mia!, the musical based around some of the greatest hits by Swedish pop group ABBA, and its success that the popularity of jukebox musicals really took off. The style is constantly inspiring successful musicals which adorn Broadway and the West End alike, such as Thriller – Live, Motown and Bat Out of Hell.
Jukebox musicals often follow the story of the music act that it takes its songs from, which is also known as a bio-musical. Being a bio-musical takes away from the ‘jukebox’ musicals label and this is because you can’t tell the life of someone, particularly an artist like Tina, without including her music. This is what separates Tina: The Musical from other ‘jukebox’ musicals. More importantly, however, Tina: The Musical stands out because of Tina Turner herself and her individual struggles which make her story so powerful and her journey so unique.
A new cast and two new productions!
Adrienne Warren, who currently stars as Tina, has received critical acclaim and endless praise, some of which even comes from Tina Turner herself. It’s no surprise that Warren will be transferring with the show, which is Broadway bound! Upon the casting announcement, Tina Turner said in a statement, “I am thrilled she will be reprising her role in New York, and I cannot wait to see her on that Broadway stage on opening night.” The show will also be opening its doors in Hamburg; the home of Tina’s current husband, Erwin Bach. Tina associates Germany with many positive experiences and emotions, which is why she wants to bring her musical to Hamburgers.
With Warren set to reprise her role in New York, a new West End cast was announced as the production goes into its second year. Nkeki Obi-Melekwe will play the role of Tina and Ashley Zhangazha will play the role of Ike Turner.
Cheap Tina Turner musical tickets from £26 and up!
With prices starting from just £26, be sure to get your tickets to Tina: The Musical at the Aldwych Theatre today via our safe and secure booking. Having received high praise from both critics and audiences alike, there's certainly no 'wrong turn' in seeing the West End Tina Turner musical!
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