Kelly Gallagher ’22
This year, Christmas is coming early to the good boys and girls with the sense to invest in a Netflix subscription. They will soon be able to watch Bruce Springsteen perform his one-man Broadway show from the comfort of their living room, once “Springsteen on Broadway” begins streaming on December 16.
“Springsteen on Broadway” officially opened October 12, 2017 at the Walter Kerr Theater. Starring the legendary rock musician, the show’s run was extended three times. In June 2018, it received a special Tony Award. The show will finally close on December 15, 2018, the day before the Netflix version will become available.
As demonstrated in the Netflix trailer, the show is unlike anything fans have seen the Boss do before. Springsteen isn’t backed by his E Street Band, although his wife, band member Patti Scialfa, makes an appearance. His audience has been scaled down from the thousands that have crowded his stadium concerts to 975 lucky theater-goers.
Springsteen performs his most significant pieces, giving songs like “Born to Run” a new sound as he plays solo on the guitar or piano. Between songs, he delivers spoken word passages largely inspired by the themes present in his 2016 memoir, “Born to Run.” Though he draws from his repertoire in this new way, Springsteen states that the show “is in pursuit of my constant goal to provide an entertaining evening and to communicate something of value.”
Rolling Stone calls Springsteen’s performance “one of the most compelling and profound shows by a rock musician in recent memory.” The New York Times praises it as not a greatest hits concert, but a “self portrait,” going on to declare that “there may never have been anything as real — and beautiful — on Broadway.”
Yet the performance should appeal to people beyond rock and Broadway aficionados. As Springsteen excavates his own experiences as an artist, he engages what makes all lives meaningful: family, art, our relationships with our hometowns, work, and dreams. Springsteen performs and philosophizes with equal care. All viewers will turn away with food for thought. This could be an especially valuable experience for students facing a new semester, which is a prime time for considering what makes their lives meaningful and in which directions they’d like to go.
Whether you’re a long-time devotee or you’ve never before sought out Springsteen’s music, this program will have something for you. If you’re looking for a few good Netflix shows to keep yourself entertained over winter break, add “Springsteen on Broadway” to your list.