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Alicia Keys’ Musical “Hell’s Kitchen” To Hit Broadway

Many people know Midtown Manhattan for Times Square, Columbus Circle, lights, music, restaurants, and most of all, big, expensive buildings. However, to many others, Midtown is Hell’s Kitchen. This small area of Manhattan is heavily gentrified now. Many wouldn’t be able to imagine what it was like in the past.

Singer Alicia Keys grew up in the nitty-gritty Hell’s Kitchen, right in between 43rd and 42nd Street in the Manhattan Plaza building. Back then, this neighborhood was known as one of New York’s toughest neighborhoods. This was back when Times Square wasn’t a tourist trap, but a center for drug deals and street violence. The neighborhood was packed with working-class Irish, and talented, underground people who came to give their talents a chance. Alicia Keys’ apartment was right down the block from Times Square. Who would have thought that the “If I Ain’t Got You” prodigy came from such a humble beginning.

Alicia Keys’ Start

Living in Hell’s Kitchen made Alicia the woman she is today. In an interview with W42st, she explained how dangerous and scary it really was to be a young woman growing up there. “Hell’s Kitchen had what looked like movie theaters, but it was all porno places, with hookers on every corner… That’s why I’ve always been such a tomboy… for a lot of girls, it still is a safety risk to walk the streets.”

Her small dream turned into a reality when she ignored the expectations others had for her. Because of where she came from, she was expected to end up fitting into the status quo of girls from Hell’s Kitchen. This meant prostitutes, teenage mothers, or an addiction to drugs. She wrote her empowering and uplifting music at her lowest points. “I needed to remind myself: don’t forget that,” she mentions in the interview.

'The Diary of Alicia Keys' Album Cover
‘The Diary of Alicia Keys’ Album Cover

The Show Will Soon Hit Broadway

According to American Songwriter, a synopsis for the show reads, “In a cramped apartment hanging off the side of Times Square, 17-year-old Ali is desperate to get her piece of the New York dream. Ali’s mother is just as determined to protect her daughter from the same mistakes she made.”

“When Ali falls for a talented young drummer, both mother and daughter must face hard truths about race, defiance, and growing up,” the description continues. “Ali feels trapped until the sound of a neighbor playing piano opens the door to an unexpected friendship and a radically different future.”

This show details young Alicia’s life and her rise to stardom. It will show the tough things she’s seen and been through. Also, how Hell’s Kitchen formed her into the person she is today. Additionally, it will feature some of her best-known songs. Keys announced on her Twitter that she had been working on the musical for a whopping 13 years.

Opening night was November 19th, 2023, at the Public Theater in New York, which also held the debut of the highly popular Hamilton. The show ran at the Public Theater until January 14, 2024.

Excitingly, the show is moving to the Shubert Theatre on Broadway, with previews beginning March 28, 2024. Opening night is scheduled for April 20, 2024. Get your tickets for the show’s Broadway run here.

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