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A Sneak Peek at ‘The Heart of Rock & Roll’

The Old Globe’s newest world-premiere musical promises a familiar soundtrack and all the good feels of an ’80s rom-com


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Photo by Richard Frollini

This week The Old Globe theater kicks off its 2018–19 season with a blockbuster world premiere musical, The Heart of Rock & Roll, based on the music of Huey Lewis and the News. The Globe has long been an incubator of great American musical theater. If Heart makes its way to New York, as it’s likely to do, it would become the theater’s 25th production to debut on Broadway.

We got a sneak peek of the highly anticipated show the day before tech rehearsals began. Here’s what audience members can look forward to on opening night:

 

Huey Lewis as never heard before. Sure, the songs are very recognizable. (Paging Michael J. Fox on a skateboard in Back to the Future!) But with Brian Usifer’s innovative arrangements, many of them are presented in a whole new way, with a whole new sound.

 

Smart direction. Artistic Director Barry Edelstein wasn’t shy when singing the praises of director Gordon Greenberg, referring to him as “the true wit” of Broadway. Greenberg’s credits include the Broadway stage adaptation of Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn (Roundabout Theatre Company/Universal Stage Productions, PBS’s Great Performances) and directed the acclaimed West End revival of Guys and Dolls, which starred Rebel Wilson and received six Olivier Award nominations (Savoy Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre). He is also cowriting and directing the forthcoming Broadway stage adaptation of The Secret of My Success (Universal Stage Productions).

 

A throwback to John Hughes, the beloved creator of movies like Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club. Greenberg says the first time he read the script he immediately thought it had “the generosity and heart of a John Hughes film.”

 

Fun choreography. Lorin Latarro comes to the Globe fresh after earning rave reviews for her choreography of Waitress on Broadway. She’s got the moves!

 

Good feels. In our one-on-one sit-down with the front man himself, we asked Huey Lewis what he hopes people take away from the show, and he said: “I’m hoping people have a great time. This isn’t change-the-world stuff; this is entertainment. But it occurs to me, if you’ve watched the news recently, people could use some entertainment. I think you’re going to feel a lot better about everything when you leave than when you showed up. And if we can make that happen, then that’s pretty good.” 


See It!

The Heart of Rock & Roll
September 6–October 21
The Old Globe, Balboa Park

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