Her voice is undeniable. Her fire was unstoppable. Her uplifting comeback story is a triumph unlike any other.
“TINA – The Tina Turner Musical,” the inspiring journey of a woman who broke barriers and became the Queen of Rock n’ Roll, is coming to The Orpheum Theatre, Feb.14-19.
From humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee, to her transformation into a global superstar, Tina Turner didn’t just break the rules, she rewrote them.
This new hit stage musical, presented in association with Tina Turner herself, reveals the untold story of a woman who dared to defy the bounds of her age, gender and race.
One of the world’s best-selling artists of all time, Tina Turner has won 12 Grammy Awards and her live shows have been seen by millions, with more concert tickets sold than any other solo performer in music history.
Featuring her much loved songs and stunning flashy outfits “TINA – The Tina Turner Musical” was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Memphis native Katori Hall.
“Tina was very interested in tying in someone who had a direct connection to her roots, so luckily, with me being a daughter of the Tennessee soil, I was available and obviously really over the moon that I was asked to even lay my hands on this project,” Hall said. “Tina is such an icon and an inspiration to me.”
Hall worked closely with Turner in writing the musical. So close that she moved to Switzerland to interview her and see her everyday life.
“I listened to interviews, tapes and watched videos of her, but to be able to sit down with her at her own table, take notes from her in readings and workshops was incredible,” said Hall. “Tina has been extremely involved every step of the way with this musical.”
Hall continued, “She just really wanted the show to be authentic. She was really worried that we would shy away from the abuse, and she, in a way, questioned if a musical could really tell the story of a domestic abuse survivor. And over the course of the process, we all learned that yes we can do that.”
Musicals tend to not approach subjects of that matter, but “I think that the musical is a perfect reframing of her story,” said Hall.
In comparison with the 1993 ‘What’s Love Got to do with It’ film, starring Angela Bassett as Tina Turner and Laurence Fishburne as her husband Ike Turner, the musical was able to get more into details about her creative process and tackle things that the movie didn’t have time to explore.
The play gives a better glimpse of her toxic relationship with her mother, her first relationship with her first son’s father, and “subjects that the movie just glossed over. We were able to hold space and articulate more,” said Hall.
“As a writer, I’m really proud that we were able to show vulnerability. Tina has survived so much; a resilient force of nature and something I learned working with her is how fully transparent she is and how she allows herself to accept her mistakes and her vulnerability,” said Hall.
“I think there’s this expectation with Black women when we see our stories, that we’re always suppose to be strong and perfect and I think with this musical we get to see a woman at her lowest.
“We see her climb up out of that, we get to see her fall again, but she continues to pick herself back up… This musical and Tina’s story is real, raw, authentic and human.”
From 2015-2019, Hall worked on writing the musical. It has traveled from London to Madrid to North America to Australia.
Asked why she felt it was important for this show to come to her hometown of Memphis, Hall said, “As one of the co-producers, I was adamant about this show coming to Memphis. It’s important to me because our city is full of so much talent, the music, storytellers, dancers … and Tina is just a testament. It feels like a homecoming. A family reunion, as such.”