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  • Writer's pictureAlexandra Beall Garfield

Simply the Best

Tina is a biographic jukebox musical using Tina Turner’s music to portray her turbulent life. The show begins in Tina’s childhood, showing the audience that both music and violence were ingrained in Turner’s life from the very beginning. As she grows, meets her first husband, Ike Turner, and gains prominence through her voice, we see the most turbulent moments of her life as underlined by a soundtrack of her music. As a modern viewer, it feels frankly astounding that this woman got to live such a long life after everything she went through.

Every actor on stage is impressive in their own right, from Naomi Rodgers and Zurin Villanueva who alternate as the lead role of Tina Turner herself, to each member of the ensemble.

I had the pleasure of seeing Zurin Villanueva in the titular role and am astounded by her performance in the best possible way. On stage nearly constantly – including a number of costume changes – Villanueva is energetic and emotive as she sings, dances and acts in high heels for more than two and a half hours. Not only is her voice amazing, she expertly mimics Turner’s vocals as they change from the start of her career through her comeback as a 44 year-old.

Ayvah Johnson, who plays Tina as a young girl, also gives a stellar performance allowing the audience to immediately wonder and empathize with Anna-Mae, long before she ever gains the name Tina Turner.

Beyond the performances, the number of costumes and wigs used throughout the show are amazing and gorgeous. They root the audience in the time period and showcase the dancer’s prowess through movement and sparkle.

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical is a must-see show whether you know and love Turner’s music or have only heard the standout songs in passing. The show is packed with glitz, glam and heart, from the opening lines to the all-out dance party after the bows.

‘Tina – The Tina Turner Musical’

Original musical supervision, arrangements and additional music by Nicholas Skilbeck. Book by Katori Hall with Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins. Presented by BroadwaySF and Broadway San Jose.

Through: September 3, 2023

Where: San Francisco’s Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor Street from August 1 to 27, 2023, and San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, 255 W. San Carlos St. from August 29 to September 3, 2023

Running time: 2 hours and 30 minutes, one intermission



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