She was born Anna Mae Bullock in 1939 into a family that picked cotton in Nutbush, Tennessee, but gained fame later in life as Tina Turner, “The Queen of Rock and Roll.”
Turner’s rollercoaster life journey has been turned into the Broadway musical “Tina—The Tina Turner Musical” that comes to Segerstrom Center for the Arts July 11 – 23.
Turner died on May 24, 2023, but left an impressive body of work along with numerous accolades.
She began her career with Ike Turner’s band Kings of Rhythm in 1957. In 1960, she debuted as Tina Turner with the hit duet single “A Fool in Love.” The duo Ike & Tina Turner went on to release a handful of hits including “River Deep – Mountain High” and “Proud Mary” before disbanding in 1976.
In the 1980s, Turner launched a comeback with her 1984 multi-platinum album “Private Dancer” which contained the hit song “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” which won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year. She went on to have more hits, eventually selling more than 100 million records worldwide.
Turner retired in 2009 after completing her 50th Anniversary Tour. During her career, she won 12 Grammy Awards, was inducted into the rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice and was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors.
“Tina—the Tina Turner Musical” originally opened on Broadway on November 7, 2019, and was nominated for 12 Tony Awards including Best Musical. The production reopened at Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on October 8, 2021, following the 18-month industry wide shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Broadway production ended performances on August 14, 2022, around the time the current touring production of the show opened.
Roz White plays Zelma Bullock, Turner’s mother, in the touring production. When Turner died, the cast was on a brief hiatus but reached out to comfort each other.
“People were calling me to offer condolences like I was a real relative,” said White during a recent phone interview while the show was playing in Los Angeles before making its way down to Costa Mesa. “Yes it’s sad to lose someone like Tina, but she lived an amazing and full life of 83 years. We have a wonderful and amazing opportunity tell her story. People will continue to be affected by Tina Turner in such a major way. She came to this earth to do a specific thing.”
That thing was to put out memorable music and perform electrifying concerts that impacted millions of people.
“Tine—The Tine Turner Musical” has been called “mind-blowing and life changing—a story that needs to be shared” by ABC News.
Her role has certainly been life-changing for White, who noted that “this role was probably written for me before I was born. I was 14 when her ‘Private Dancer’ album came out. I was obsessed with her and tried to sing like her. I wanted to play Tina, but as years went by other roles came along, and by the time I got this show I was in the category of the mom.”
For research into her character, White said she began with the actual text—the script. She also read Turner’s auto biography, which described her mother as a smoker who picked cotton, not allowed to be a soft woman and was in an abusive relationship. White also was able to hear clips of Zelma’s voice.
“Zelma is peppered through the show,” said White. “The story begins at Tina’s concert in Brazil in front of 180,000 people. She’s about to go on stage and remembers to center herself. She does a Buddhist chant, which takes her back in time and we meet her mother and see how she grew up.”
White noted that Turner played a part in crafting the show, and the creators incorporated much of Turner’s musical catalogue into the show.
“I’m excited that audiences get to see the story that Tina wanted told,” said White. “This is an opportunity to celebrate one of the greatest talents of our time. Bring your open mind and open heart and be a part of this story. It’s a special moment.”
For tickets, visit www.SCFTA.org.
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Source: Newport Beach Independent