Here's what's different in the new 'Springsteen on Broadway'
So much for anticipation -- less than a month after the announcement of a limited return engagement for "Springsteen on Broadway," Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa were back on the Great White Way last night, ushering in what will hopefully be a return to normalcy for theater in NYC and for concert-going in general.
Attended by such luminaries as Stevie Van Zandt (who got his own standing ovation upon entering the hall, according to ABC News), Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttiegieg and NJ. Gov. Phil Murphy, it was by all accounts a joyous affair -- both "more emotional" and "more animated" than the initial run, according to Jay Lustig of NJarts.net. -- and also an at least slightly different show than the one ticket holders and Netflix watchers got the last time around.
Spoiler alert: As you probably figured out from the headline, those changes are outlined below -- if you want to be surprised, stop here!
1) New songs
Even when Bruce said the show would be basically the same one people saw the last time around, you had to believe that he wouldn't be able to resist some tweaks after the year-plus layoff. And sure enough, he substituted "Fire" as one of the duets with Patti, in place of "Brilliant Disguise"; and added in the sadly relevant-as-ever "American Skin (41 Shots)" and the utterly appropriate "See You in My Dreams" from "Letter to You" as the show closer. Full setlist below -- also missing from the last run were "The Ghost of Tom Joad" and "Born to Run." (!)
“My Father’s House”
“The Promised Land”
“Born in the USA”
“Tenth Avenue Freeze-out”
“Tougher Than the Rest (with Patti Scialfa)
“Fire” (with Patti Scialfa)
“American Skin (41 Shots)”
“Dancing in the Dark”
“Land of Hope and Dreams”
“I’ll See You in My Dreams”
2) New banter
You don't go through a year like the last one without remarking on it when you finally get back in front of a crowd, at least not if you're Bruce Springsteen. It seems Bruce took time to discuss the COVID pandemic and its imminent end ("We're all unmasked, sitting next to each other," he marveled), and his run-in with the law over drinking in a New Jersey park. (“My case was the United States of America vs. Bruce Springsteen,” Springsteen said, according to app.com. “That's always comforting to hear — the entire nation is aligned against you.”) He even threw in a "Shut the f--- up!" for good measure.
3) New protesters
Probably less said about this the better, but apparently the anti-vax crowd decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to come out and yell at people (unmasked, natch) about the show's requirement that people show proof of COVID vaccination to attend. If you have tickets, hopefully they'll have given up by the time you go.
4) New seats
Yes, there are a lot more seats in the venue -- the St. James Theatre is about twice the size of the Walter Kerr -- but also a lot of patrons will apparently be getting new seats, i.e. different from the ones they bought. Reports from dedicated Springsteen chronicler Ken Rosen are that Bruce has once again rewarded folks who got stuck with nosebleed and partial-view seats with a trip to the front row. And not just those in the theater last night -- future ticket holders have gotten notices from SeatGeek about an upgrade. Now that's a great way to get a grateful audience down front.
As we weren't there in the flesh, we're sure there were other new flourishes to delight and amaze those lucky enough to attend -- if you were there, or are going, send your reports and any pictures you manage to grab to email@example.com, and we'll feature them in an upcoming post.
Meanwhile, Broadway World has saved us a lot of work by corralling all the top reviews of the new Springsteen on Broadway -- check them out here.