Review: TINA – The Tina Turner Musical Rocks the DPAC!

Zurin Villanueva as Tina in The Tina Turner Muscial – Photo by Marc Viscardi

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical opened at DPAC this past Tuesday to a sold-out audience. The show was fabulous and a wonderful way to start off the new year! This is a high energy production that builds momentum throughout as her life story unfolds and really goes out with a bang in the final act with everyone in the theater on their feet.

The musical chronicles the life of Tina Turner, from her early childhood in Tennessee, to her rocky and abusive relationship with her musical partner and husband Ike Turner. I grew up listening to Turner in he 80’s and 90’s and this production did a fantastic job of following her evolution through musical styles including R&B and pop to her eventual rockstar status as a solo artist. This production also does a great job of using sets, costume design and period fashion to clearly mark the journey through the evolving time periods as it spans several decades of Tina Turner’s life, helping the audience keep track of when things are happening.

The show doesn’t hold back in portraying her personal and professional setbacks but does a good job of balancing the real-life challenges she faced with While the first act focuses on her early years and collaboration with Ike, the second act brings us to more recent history with Tina working as a solo artist, fighting financial and her financial and professional struggles to establish herself separate from Ike. Turner’s life was not easy and was filled with many highs and lows, including navigating an industry that was not always welcoming to people of color or aging female artists. But despite these challenges, Turner’s incredible talent and courage eventually help her take control of her destiny and deliver her to the stardom and recognition she has more than earned.

Photo by Matthew Murphy

The role of Tina is shared by Naomi Rodgers and Zurin Villanueva on alternating nights. I’m not sure exactly why that s, but I suspect no mortal human can sustain 8 high-energy performances a week portraying an icon like Tina Turner. On opening night, it was Villanueva’s turn to play the lead role and she did a wonderful job and left everything on stage. Her excellent vocals, dance moves and contagious energy dominated the stage just like Tina would. I particularly enjoyed her rendition “Proud Mary” that brought the house down. Make sure you stick around after the last act. You will be glad you did.

Tina Turner’s talent is second to none and the cast and crew of this production honor her with this incredible show. I would happily see this again and thought it was a terrific way to start off the new year. The production will be at DPAC through this Sunday, January 8th. Catch it while you can! For tickets visit https://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/tina-the-tina-turner-musical.

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