Alicia Keys’ ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ Will Open on Broadway

The musical is loosely based on the 15-time Grammy winner’s childhood

Hell's Kitchen scene
The musical Hell's Kitchen, seen here at the Public Theater, will be moving to Broadway in the spring. Joan Marcus

Alicia Keys’ semi-autobiographical musical Hell's Kitchen is coming to Broadway in March 2024, the singer-songwriter announced this week. The show is her first theatrical production, and its debut at the Shubert Theater comes after a successful off-Broadway run.

“I’m out of my mind with joy, excitement, thrill,” Keys tells the New York Times’ Michael Paulson.

Hell's Kitchen is loosely based on Keys’ childhood in the New York City neighborhood bearing the same name. The coming-of-age story follows 17-year-old Ali, who, like Keys, is the daughter of a white mother and a Black father. Growing up in a housing development surrounded by artists and performers, Ali discovers a passion for the piano and falls in love with an older man while struggling in her relationship with her overprotective single mother.

Similarly, the 15-time Grammy winner was raised by a single mother, Terria Joseph, who moved from Ohio to New York to pursue a career in acting. Keys sees her musical’s success as a tribute to her mother’s dreams and passions before her. As the Associated Press’ Mark Kennedy writes, “Hell’s Kitchen, in a way, is a full-circle moment for the Keys family.”

“We get to announce the ultimate dream—the dream that my mother chased from a little girl, that brought her here, which is the reason why I’m here, which is the reason why this city raised me, and the reason why I can even tell this story,” Keys tells the Times.

The musical’s debut has been a long time coming for the singer-songwriter, who’s been working on the production with playwright Kristoffer Diaz for more than a decade.

“Good things take time and for 13 years, I’ve been dreaming, developing and finding inspiration for a musical based on my experience growing up in Hell’s Kitchen,” says Keys in a statement. “Hell’s Kitchen is inspired by my life, but it’s not a biographical story. It’s a story about family relationships and identity: Who are we? Who do we want to be? Who are we becoming?”

Keys does not perform in the show. The protagonist in the off-Broadway production is played by Maleah Joi Moon, and the Broadway cast has yet to be announced.

The first Broadway preview of Hell's Kitchen will take place on March 28, and opening night is scheduled for April 20. In addition to new songs by Keys, the musical features new arrangements of some of her biggest hits, including “Fallin’,” “No One,” “Girl on Fire,” “If I Ain’t Got You” and “Empire State of Mind.” Tickets go on sale December 11.

Though reviews for the off-Broadway production have been mixed, Keys has only one critic in mind: “the people in the seats,” as she says to the Times. “When they come away feeling uplifted, inspired, ignited, transformed—they’re crying because they feel so connected to the stories in their lives—those are the critics that I really pay attention to.”

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