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  • Angela Allyn

Tina Powers Through

Part tribute concert, part Black History, part biographical study, Tina, the Tina Turner musical is not an evening for sensitive viewers, but it is a powerful story based on a remarkable life.

And as performed in the touring production now on view at Broadway in Chicago’s Nederlander Theater in the Loop, it is an on your feet tour de force performance you will not soon forget, a perfect way to close out your Black History Month with an seminal Women’s History Month tribute.

The show traces the life of Tina Turner, born Anna Mae Bullock, and as jukebox musical, this Tina catalog is second to none. These are sing-along, dance-along hits from an astute songwriter and a gifted singer who indelibly influenced the development of American rock and its practitioners. The audience members at this show are clearly fans and their energy will lift you higher.

Turner came from a troubled family: her mother left her, as did her abusive father (in actuality he died) and she was mostly raised by her grandmother. Although liberties have been taken with the facts to make a better show (she had two older sisters, she was raised by a grandfather too, and she raised 4 boys–taking in Ike’s kids after the divorce) one has to assume since Turner was involved in the creation of this script that the emotional truth of the this trauma to triumph saga is solid. And what an epic tale it is: from domestic abuse and an enmeshed relationship with Ike Turner who created her performing character but sought to destroy the real woman due to his own fears and demons, to her debilitating divorce, to a Phoenix-like rise from the ashes and an utter conquest of the stage: the concert in Brazil that closes the show broke the Guinness Book of World Records for paying audience size. The rock concert finale (complete with audience participation and an encore) is worth the price of admission.

What kept her going, and makes this show exceptional, is the music, and such music it is. Rising out of Gospel and R& B, merging with and then conquering Rock and Roll, the story becomes a legend or perhaps a fable, on what it is to be marginalized and then return from the dead. Zurin Villaneuva as the diva herself does a consummate job of recreating the voice of Turner, if not quite the sensual weightiness of Turner. Her long legged hunger does make the hard times exquisitely resonant. The entire ensemble comes together to tell this incredible story with seamless dancing and singing. This is a powerhouse show that will fill your soul with light, and give you insight into an American music icon (who now happens to be Swiss!).

Tina is a short run, only at the Nederlander Theatre 24 W Randolph Street in Chicago's Loop until April 2, 2023 so run out and get those tickets NOW by going to

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