Sunday, May 19, 2024

Broadway: Huey Lewis and the News Jukebox Musical Coming This Spring, Like it Or Not


Another jukebox musical would seem like a futile effort for Broadway at this point. Do we really need one of these shows with a contrived book to hold together a bunch of mediocre pop songs?

Apparently, we do.

The result is we will get “The Heart of Rock and Roll,” with songs from Huey Lewis and the News, come March 2024. This show was tried in The Old Globe Theater in San Diego back in 2018, and the reviews were not friendly. But the producers persist.

So we will get dramatic readings of “I Want a New Drug,” “Do You Believe in Love,” and “Hip to Be Square,” sung earnestly by characters in a romcom. I always liked “Heart and Soul.”

Huey Lewis’s real claim to fame — apart from a dozen cheerful pop hits in the mid 80s — is that his group played back up for Elvis Costello on his first album under the name Clover. That was when they were hip. Then they became square, perfect music for the Reagan era. Instead of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, the News was about golf.

I don’t know if golf will be involved in this show– but you can see the dance numbers now, right? And lots of double entendres. (Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll be hearing those.)

How “The Heart of Rock and Roll” is supposed to measure up to The Who’s “Tommy,” which is actual rock and roll, remains to be seen. But who knows?

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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