@_laurynclarke gives us the lowdown on the new Tina Turner musical coming to London next year
This week, the team of the new upcoming Musical, Tina Turner gave a press event and announced who would be playing the iconic star in her biographic musical
Producer Joop van den Ende, Tina Turner, Adrienne Warren, musical’s director Phyllida Lloyd and the producer Tali Pelman (credit: Getty Images)
The musical, which will open at the Aldwych Theatre in March, revealed that Broadway star Adrienne Warren would be taking on the role of the Grammy-winning singer. This will be Warren’s West End debut, having previously starred in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ‘Bring It On’, ‘The Wiz’, ‘Dreamgirls’ and, most recently, ‘Shuffle Along or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed’ on Broadway to which she received a 2016 Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.
This is not Warren’s first time playing real-life music stars before – in her Tony-nominated role she played Jazz Age performer Florence Mills and Gertrude Sanders who was a blues singer at the time. At the Tina Turner musical press launch, she performed three songs, two of which were duets with Tina Turner herself! They sung some of Tina’s most popular songs (‘Simply the Best‘ and ‘Proud Mary‘), showing industry professionals that Warren definitely has the voice to echo Tina’s memorable repertoire. However, Warren later revealed that performing Tina’s vocals was initially a big challenge stating to the press:
“It’s not my voice, and that’s what people know her for, her voice … As soon as you hear that music that voice sticks out to you, and I have to find that voice within my own.”
Tina Turner and the actress who will play her, Adrienne Warren (Credit: Press Association)
She would later tell the press of how Tina Turner inspired her to perform when she was younger, saying:
“She is strength, power and grace personified – especially for women of colour. She’s the first time I realised I could grow up and have dreams that would take me all over the world. I wouldn’t have become a performer if it wasn’t for Tina Turner“.
This will add an interesting dimension to her performance, I’m sure, seeing her portray one of her inspirations on stage.
This musical is being directed by Phyllida Lloyd, who has previously directed ‘Mamma Mia!’ (Both the musical and the cinematic adaptation) which has been running in the West End for 18 years. Phyllida has also recently been acclaimed for her direction of an all-female trilogy of Shakespeare’s works: Julius Caesar, Henry IV, and The Tempest, set in a female prison. The press were told that the musical will not shy away from some of the darker moments of Tina’s past, including her allegedly abusive marriage to Ike Turner (as was shown in the biographical film ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It’ starring Angela Bassett as Tina and Laurence Fishburne as Ike), but also detailing the high points of her life that made her career as one of the top-selling female artists of all time.
Tina Turner has come out of her retirement (since 2010 at age 70) to help with this musical – the producers initially had to fly out to Switzerland, where Turner now lives, to talk with her and convince her to give the musical her blessing. She said at the event that she:
“Didn’t want to because [she] didn’t really understand it or agree with it, whatever there is – the magic between stage and music is totally different, so I’m learning and experiencing what musicals are about”.