‘Hell’s Kitchen’ Review: Alicia Keys Soundtracks a Powerhouse Cast in Vibrant Off Broadway Depiction of Teen Girlhood
20.11.2023 - 04:19
Aramide Tinubu “Hell’s Kitchen,” playwright Kristoffer Diaz‘s new musical with songs by Alicia Keys, begins at a dinner table. 17-year-old Ali (a magnetic Maleah Joi Moon, making her professional debut) has dinner with her mom, Jersey (Shoshana Bean), in their Hell’s Kitchen apartment every night at the same time. It’s a routine that Jersey insists on to keep Ali safe from the perils of New York City in the 1990s.
But for Ali, their one-bedroom apartment on the 42nd floor feels like a cage. She longs to hang out with her friends, listen to music and flirt with an older drummer named Knuck (Chris Lee), who uses the courtyard of their Manhattan Plaza building as his stage. Styled in baggie jeans, Timberland boots, Tommy Hilfiger crop tops and gold chains, Ali speaks directly to the audience about her feelings, dreams and desires.
She welcomes viewers into her beautifully chaotic teenage world as if opening up her diary. Without an outlet to express herself, she comments on her increasing frustrations with Jersey’s overbearing attitude while gathering the courage to approach Knuck. It’s difficult to unlock the experience of being a 17-year-old girl, but under Michael Greif’s direction, “Hell’s Kitchen” does just that.
Loosely based on Grammy Award winner Keys’ personal experiences, the musical, now premiering at the Public Theater, captures Ali’s ever-evolving emotions and her quest for freedom. Despite her mother’s rules, Ali rebels against them, staying out late, getting to know Knuck intimately and fighting Jersey at every turn. Because her estranged father, Davis (Brandon Victor Dixon), is a professional musician, Ali only begrudgingly learns to play the piano from her stern neighbor, Miss Lisa Jane (Kecia Lewis).
The website popstar.one is an aggregator of news from open sources. The source is indicated at the beginning and at the end of the announcement. You can send a complaint
on the news if you find it unreliable.