From the moment the curtain lifted off the stage, “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” opened at the National Theater in Washington, DC to screaming fans, and for the next 2 hours and 45 minutes a very diverse audience cheered and sang, and enthusiastically clapped to every song. I also clapped, tapped my feet, and sang to all the Tina Turner hits that fans have come to love over her stellar 50 plus years in show business.
The bio-musical, executive produced by Turner and her husband Erwin Bach for 16.5 million, had its world premiere in April 2018 in London. It has since garnered critical claim, with the performance starting with a camera roll showing her childhood. The introduction film told the story of parental abandonment in Nutbush, Tennessee in the 1940s, with shadows of spirited voiced Anna Mae Bullock’s joyful experiences in church.
Every song during the performance chronicled her life from southern poverty to along the road to stardom including her husband’s infamous attacks. As Ike Turner brutally slapped her across the face, the violent attacks triggered the audience’s gasp. However, when she finally fought back against Ike’s aggression and all sorts of emotional torments, the theater erupted in applause.
Virginia native Naomi Rogers, in the starring role, captured Turner’s moves with precision in an iconic Turner highlighted blonde wig. Her tone arms swayed, long legs kicked, and shoulders jerked in the shimmering fringes of her costume. Rodgers is incredibly gifted and energetic and was just nothing short of amazing.