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Critics' Choice
REVISITING BRUCE ON BROADWAY
5/4/18

By Phil Gallo

In revisiting Springsteen on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theater nearly seven months after first seeing it, Bruce Springsteen has turned it into a better show these days.

He is looser than in the performances that earned him raves back in October, moving more onstage and integrating extra dynamics into the show through simple actions—stepping away from the mic or pushing the volume of a guitar.

At that October show I felt a subtle distinction between the portions of his autobiography he reads and the material written for the show; that separation is gone. He has a better sense of how to play for laughs and how to pause after lines get a round of approving applause—he’s not just playing himself, he’s learned how to use the skills of an actor to more dramatically tell a story.

At that first show, “Brilliant Disguise,” “Tougher Than the Rest,” “Thunder Road” and “Born to Run” were favorites; this time it was the medley of “Dancing in the Dark” and “Land of Hopes and Dreams,” “My Hometown” and “Long Walk Home.” In a Broadway season when complaints abound regarding the paltry selection of musical offerings, Springsteen continues to deliver a show that will be talked about for decades. And, one hopes, may inspire others to consider the Broadway stage when the opportunity arises.