The story behind Alicia Keys’ Broadway musical Hell’s Kitchen nominated for 13 Tonys 

Dollita Okine May 07, 2024
Alicia Keys. Photo via Masterclass

Alicia Keys has reached a new milestone with her musical “Hell’s Kitchen” as it has received 13 Tony nominations after working on it for 13 years.

A 17-year-old girl whose life circumstances have tremendous echoes of the famous artist’s upbringing—the single mother, the drive for independence, the passion for piano, even the same subsidized housing development—is the subject of the musical, which incorporates most of her songs and a book by Kristoffer Diaz.

Sharing her excitement about the nominations, Keys told The New York Times, “Whoa! I’m definitely in a deep state of freaking out in a really great, awesome, grateful way. I don’t know what’s happening to me — I’m a songwriter and I can’t put my words together, but I feel unbelievable. I’m so excited for everybody to be recognized.”

The 43-year-old highlighted that it made her feel good that their efforts and hard work were recognized by the audience’s overall enjoyment of the musical.

She did, however, describe how it felt to witness individuals perform scenes that mirrored hard moments in her life, stating, “It is painful, thrilling, emotional, and honest. When Kecia Lewis sings ‘Perfect Way to Die’ at the end of the first act, I don’t care how many times I see that, it touches me powerfully and poignantly every time. It is painful, but it’s also triumphant, you know?”

Going forward, Keys expressed her hope to keep the show running for a long time. She said, “I do have many dreams and many manifestations to be on the level of longevity of some of the greatest pieces of theater that have ever existed. That would be such a deep honor. And so we’re just going to keep working and keep loving, keep believing. And you know, the rest is up to whatever divine choice is meant for this.”

Keys’ Broadway musical Hell’s Kitchen is directed by four-time Tony Award nominee Michael Greif and choreographed by Tony Award nominee Camille A. Brown. It began performances on March 28 at the Shubert Theater after its world premiere at the Public Theater.

“The characters are definitely inspired by the city, inspired by my experiences of individuals and people. And I think that’s what gives it the richness and the relatability that you experience when you come,” the singer told VIBE last year of Hell’s Kitchen.

“To me, that’s why it feels so good, how art does imitate life because you’re able to take the experiences, those fundamentals, those emotions, those connections, those layered, complex behaviors of humanity, and put it all together into these stories that really, really hit you.”

As per Vibe, Hell’s Kitchen is up for Best Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical, and Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical. The others are Best Book of a Musical, Best Scenic Design of a Musical, Best Costume Design of a Musical, Best Lighting Design of a Musical, Best Sound Design of a Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Choreography, and Best Orchestrations.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: May 7, 2024


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