We still don’t know if the rumor about Bruce Springsteen playing an extended engagement at a Broadway theater later this year is true. (Aug. 30 Update: It is). But in the meantime, I thought I’d amuse myself (and maybe some other people) by seeing if I could find 10 ways to connect Bruce Springsteen to Broadway.
It was a daunting task, but I was up to it. Here they are.
1. In his “New York City Serenade,” Springsteen sings: “Jackie’s heels are stacked, Billy’s got cleats on his boots/Together they’re gonna boogaloo down Broadway and come back home with the loot.”
2. Max Weinberg worked in Broadway orchestras before he was in the E Street Band, playing drums for “Godspell” and “The Magic Show” (starring magician Doug Henning).
3. Another E Streeter, Roy Bittan, was the pianist and musical director for “Hard Job Being God,” a rock opera based on the Bible that closed five days after opening in 1972.
4. Yet another E Streeter, Steven Van Zandt wrote, co-produced and co-directed the Rascals reunion project, “The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream,” which ran on Broadway in 2013.
5. Springsteen sang a solo acoustic version of “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’ ” at a tribute to director Elaine Steinbeck (the widow of John Steinbeck) at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, N.Y., in 1998. The songs is from “Oklahoma!,” whose initial Broadway run was from 1943 to 1948.
6. Critics have often brought up “West Side Story” when discussing early Springsteen songs such as “Incident on 57th Street” and “Jungleland.” John Sinclair wrote in the Ann Arbor Sun in 1975, in an article titled “Bob Seger/Bruce Springsteen: Which is the real B.S.?”: “… Springsteen’s live performance, at Ann Arbor’s Hill Auditorium Sept. 23rd, suggested nothing more positively than a mid-70’s update of the Leonard Bernstein classic, with the now-popular stereotype of the repulsively romantic street punk replacing the Puerto Ricans of the earlier show, and with Springsteen playing all the parts.” (The initial Broadway run of “West Side Story” was from 1957 to 1959.)
7. Springsteen attended “Hamilton” in November, and tweeted about it:
8. In 2002, a rock opera built around Springsteen songs, “Drive All Night,” was workshopped in New York, and conceiver Darrel Larson told Playbill “we hope this will be on Broadway and on stages around the world.” It never got there, though.
9. The New York Post’s Michael Riedel, who reported on the possibility of a Broadway run, also wrote a column titled “Springsteen is ready to put his life on Broadway” in November, in which – with Springsteen’s approval — he floated the idea of a show based on Springsteen’s autobiography “Born to Run” to various Broadway producers.
10. Springsteen made a cameo appearance in the 2000 film “High Fidelity.” In the stage version, which was on Broadway briefly in 2006, an actor played Springsteen as well, in the “Goodbye and Good Luck” number.
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