How Tina Turner Surprised the Crowd at Her Broadway Musical

Tina Turner is one of the most legendary performers in the history of pop music. Naturally, Broadway has turned her life and songs into a jukebox musical. Tina: The Tina Turner Musical has brought the icon back into the spotlight. Here’s how Turner surprised the audience at the opening night of the musical.

Tina Turner | DENIZE alain/Sygma via Getty Images

Tina Turner’s epic new musical

Tina: The Tina Turner Musical includes both songs Turner recorded as part of the group Ike & Tina Turner and as a solo artist. While many of the songs in the musical are major hits like “What’s Love Got to Do With It” and “We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome),” the musical also shines light on some of the diva’s lesser-known songs, including “Don’t Turn Around” – a power ballad originally recorded by Turner that would only become a hit when it was re-recorded by Swedish pop group Ace of Base.

The musical comes at a time when jukebox musicals are particularly prominent on Broadway. Several such musicals including The Cher Show, Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough (which is based on the music of Michael Jackson), and Once Upon a One More Time (which is based on the music of Britney Spears) are either currently on Broadway or scheduled to premiere on Broadway in the near future. Tina: The Tina Turner Musical means Turner is one of the select few artists whose music is popular enough to carry an entire Broadway show.

Tina Turner dazzles crowd

Tina Turner | The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

Getting to see the opening night of a musical centered on one of pop music’s most iconic performers is a treat unto itself, but Turner made it even more special by arriving at the opening show to surprise the audience. According to People, she joined the cast on stage at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. The singer spoke candidly about the musical’s portrayal of her personal struggles, saying “This musical is my life but it’s like poison that turned to medicine. I can never be as happy as I am now.”

CNN reported she added: “I’ve been blessed with a wonderful career. After more than 50 years of performing I don’t need a musical, I don’t need another show. But I get so many cards and letters, I still can’t believe how people feel about me on stage and the legacy they say I left. People tell me I gave them hope. It meant so much to people I feel I have to pass it on, and I hope this show serves what the people need, as a reminder of my work.”

Turner wasn’t the only celebrity at the show. A number of famous faces, including Tituss Burgess, Oprah Winfrey, Gayle King, and Martha Stewart were also in attendance. It must have been fun for the members of the audience to spot the celebrities in their midst.

Critics trash the musical

Tina Turner in 1985 | Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

So far, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical has garnered mixed reviews. Critics have praised the show’s production value and Adrienne Warren’s performance as Turner. However, many critics felt that the show’s portrayal of the abuse that Turner suffered at the hands of her husband, Ike Turner, lacked insight. At the very least, Turner herself seems pleased with the finished product.

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