Bruce Springsteen is perhaps the foremost chronicler of American life. In his songs, he has played a highway patrolman, a man on the run from the state cops, a young lover in Jersey hoping to lure his girlfriend on an adventure, guys sick of hard work, tired of their hometowns, nostalgic for their teenage wonder years. Imbued with a kind of cinematic drama, these tunes have an escapist allure. Yet these many characters are united by desire and dreams, big and small. “Everybody has a hungry heart,” the song goes, and this likely explains Springsteen’s mass appeal, from working men to millionaires. Springsteen on Broadway, back for its second run with the reopening of the another American institution—the Great White Way—is an intimate look into the musician’s oeuvre, with slowed-down takes on classic hits: “Dancing in the Dark” is suddenly made solemn; “Born in the USA,” without the wallop of the E Street Band, lays bare its lyrics about the trauma of war. There are less known tracks, favorites of Springsteen’s if not the radio’s, and two duets with his wife, Patti Scialfa. The songs are still stories, but the performances here are about the man behind the myths. —C.J.F.
St. James Theatre 246 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036 Get Directions »