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The Tina Turner Musical Is Simply Terrific at the TPAC in Tennessee

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Tina: The Tina Turner Musical is a gripping tale of tragedy to triumph and a compelling chronicle of the iconic Tina Turner that is told through an incredible setlist of songs that she is famous for. This potent production will be at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) February 13 - 18, 2024. We had the pleasure of attending opening night in Nashville. Tina: The Tina Turner Musical is a soundtrack depicting Turner's life from her humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee, to her transformation as a superstar who would go on to win 12 Grammy Awards among many accomplishments achieved during her career. With the help of a band and a talented ensemble the story of Tina unfolds through acting and music to tell the truly sometimes harrowing and often hopeful tale of the hometown heroine's meteoric yet rocky rise to fame.

Tina Turner (1939 - 2023) was a singer, songwriter and actress. Known as the "Queen of Rock 'n' Roll", she rose to prominence as the lead vocalist of the husband-wife duo Ike & Tina Turner before launching a successful solo career. Her album Private Dancer (1984) featured the hit song "What's Love Got to Do with It", which won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year. Her chart success continued with "Better Be Good to Me", "Private Dancer", "We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)", "Typical Male", "(Simply) The Best", "I Don't Wanna Fight" and "GoldenEye". Turner was also well respected for high caliber live performances.

However, as we learned in Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, The Queen's road to success was far from smooth. This play basically runs in chronological order. In Act One we found ourselves at a church service where a young Anna Mae Bullock later to be known as Tina was loudly singing. Her Mother does not approve thus alluding to a dysfunctional childhood in her future. As a teen Anna moves to St Louis where she meets Ike Turner. Singing "It's Gonna Work Out Fine" we are led to believe that good things await Ms. Bullock. She marries Ike who turns out to be abusive and controlling.

Tina does her best to keep her promise to never leave her husband but after one-too-many violent arguments as sung in "I Don't Wanna Fight No More" she leaves. Despite all her hard work and fame, Turner has 36 cents to her name as she dumps Ike at the conclusion of Act One. Act Two opens with "Private Dancer" where Tina is struggling to make ends meet which means singing in Las Vegas while still trying to get a record deal. As the legend goes she arrives at Capital Records to drop off a demo tape and she meets Roger Davies. Roger becomes her manager who will coordinate her miraculous comeback with the now infamous Private Dancer album. Her story ends in triumph as she prepares for a concert in front of 180,000 people in Brazil that features a blazing "(Simply) The Best" paired with a two-song encore.

Although most of the music in this play is up-tempo, much of the narrative is dark thus making Tina's wins even more inspiring. Not only did she have personal problems to overcome but she also battled age discrimination, racism and gender issues as it was much harder for women to handle their business affairs in the 1960's. Tina's is truly an amazing life of tragedy to triumph as told in the Tina: The Tina Turner Musical that is touring the country for much of 2024.

Thank you to the TPAC for hosting this hit musical as part of their ongoing commitment to showcase Broadway productions right here in Middle Tennessee. Since 1980, the nonprofit TPAC has promoted the cultural and performing arts. They also support the community with teacher resources, professional development opportunities, classroom residencies, and enrichment programs. Each season the TPAC offers an outstanding array of shows. Please visit the TPAC's website for a full list of upcoming events.

Related Links: For more information on TINA: THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Tina: The Tina Turner Musical | Tina Turner | Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC)


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