Video: How Hell's Kitchen Is a Love Letter to New York City | Playbill

Video Video: How Hell's Kitchen Is a Love Letter to New York City

The cast and crew of Alicia Keys' new musical reflects on the dynamics of storytelling and the uniqueness of being a New Yorker.

Alicia Keys is bringing a new musical to the concrete jungle. Preview performances have begun for Hell's Kitchen ahead of its April 20 opening at the Shubert Theater. The cast and crew spoke with Playbill about their excitement for this heartfelt homage to New York City. See what's in the works in Hell's Kitchen in the video above.

Set in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, 17-year-old Ali (played by Maleah Joi Moon) wants to find freedom and excitement in the big city despite her mother wanting to protect her from the harsh truths of the world. With the help of a wise piano teacher, Ali finds a way to make the city her own by navigating the realities of love, friendship, and race.

From the concert stage to Broadway stage, iconic R&B and soul artist Keys' music is captivating audiences with her music through a new medium. Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Ali's father Davis, talks about how the narratives already built inside of Keys' musical amplifies the show.

"The wonderful thing about her music is that it's not just musically dynamic, but there's an emotional narrative already within her music. There's a lot of storytelling already there," Dixon says. "So, within the framework of this story on stage, it really heightens the dynamic of the music and the emotionality of the music..."

Living in New York City is a unique experience that only people who have experienced it understand. Hell's Kitchen features a book by Kristoffer Diaz. Michael Greif is directing, with choreography by Camille A. Brown. With a creative team made of New York City natives, Hell's Kitchen is set to capture the city's identity. To Shoshana Bean, who plays Ali's mother Jersey, this musical is a love letter to the city.

"It's a love letter to a very specific part of New York City, which for us in the theatre community, this is our hood," Bean says. "But also it's a love letter to an era. It's a love letter to the '90s."

READ: Camille A. Brown Is Bringing '90s New York Back to Broadway in Hell's Kitchen

The cast of Hell's Kitchen also includes Kecia Lewis as Miss Liza Jane and Chris Lee as Knuck. The cast also features Chad Carstarphen, Reid Clarke, Chloe Davis, Nico DeJesus, Timothy L. Edwards, Desmond Sean Ellington, Badia Farha, Vanessa Ferguson, David Guzman, Gianna Harris, Jakeim Hart, Takia Hopson, Jackie Leon, Raechelle Manalo, Jade Milan, Onyxx Noel, Susan Oliveras, Sarah Parker, Aaron Nicholas Patterson, William Roberson, Niki Saludez, Nyseli Vega, Donna Vivino, Lamont Walker II, Rema Webb, and Oscar Whitney Jr.

The production includes scenic designer Robert Brill, costume designer Dede Ayite, lighting designer Natasha Katz, sounder designer Gareth Owen, projection designer Peter Nigrini, hair and wig designer Mia Neal, and makeup designer Michael Clifton. Danny Maly serves as production stage manager. Casting is led by Heidi Griffiths and Kate Murray and general management is led by Foresight Theatrical.

The music team includes orchestrations by Tom Kitt and Adam Blackstone, with arrangements by Alicia Keys and Adam Blackstone. Lily Ling serves as music director and Tom Kitt as music consultant.

Photos: Alicia Keys, Cast, and Creative Team of Hell's Kitchen Meet The Press

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