Broadway National Tour of “TINA” to come to Indianapolis

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Ari Groover as ‘Tina Turner’ and the cast of the North American touring production of “TINA - The Tina Turner Musical.” (Photo/Matthew Murphy)
Ari Groover as ‘Tina Turner’ and the cast of the North American touring production of “TINA - The Tina Turner Musical.” (Photo/Matthew Murphy)

“TINA – The Tina Turner Musical” is coming to Indianapolis.

Based on the life and legacy of the Queen of Rock & Roll, the Broadway National Tour of “TINA- The Tina Turner Musical” comes to Old National Centre in Indianapolis April 30-May 5 for eight performances.

“TINA — The Tina Turner Musical” first premiered on Broadway in November 2019 and was nominated for 12 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Set to a soundtrack of Turner’s most beloved hits, the show follows a young Anna Mae Bullock and her rise to fame as one of the world’s best-selling recording artists, including broken records and barriers, award wins and tumultuous moments in both her career and personal relationships.

“Playing this character has made me a better woman, and for that I am always grateful,” Zurin Villanueva told the Recorder. “She’s like a lot of us in terms of what we’ve had to endure and swallow and turn into gold, you know, regardless of what bad things or hard things may come our way, we turn into something good. I think that is what a woman does.”

Villanueva, a Brooklyn, New York native, is one of two actors playing Tina Turner in the show, and said the role is a “wonderful legacy to uphold” and a supreme honor she holds very dear to her heart.

Despite how challenging touring and traveling from city to city can be, Villanueva said the cast and crew are all very close and “TINA” has bonded them in a way that cannot be replicated.

Villanueva shares the role of Tina Turner with Ari Groover, a multidisciplinary artist originally from Georgia. Although Groover is no stranger to performing on Broadway, “TINA — The Tina Turner Musical,” is technically her first national tour and said playing such an iconic woman through her highs and lows is a wonderful experience.

“To play her is a reminder that if you do this, you can do anything,” Groover said. “It’s also just an honor to, especially now since she’s passed, it’s an honor to make sure that we are giving celebration to her life.”

Zurin Villanueva as ‘Tina Turner’ and the cast of the North American touring production of “TINA – The Tina Turner Musical.” (Photo/Matthew Murphy)

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Folks who are familiar with Turner’s life, or at the very least, the movie “What’s Love Got to Do With it” are still going to learn things about the artist they did not know, Groover said. This show reveals parts of Turner’s story that were not included in the film, such as her life after leaving her abusive husband Ike Turner, her success and how she created her first album, Groover said.

“We are taken through the full range of all the emotions,” Villanueva said. “You come for a party, you come to be angry, come to be sad, you come to triumph. So, come ready for all of it. Every single thing.”

Usually when roles are double cast in musicals, actors alternate between Act I and Act II or one plays a younger version. In “TINA — The Tina Turner Musical,” Villanueva and Groover alternate entire performances, and share the role equally. 

The role itself is incredibly demanding vocally and physically, and Groover said Turner’s character does not leave the stage and is essentially singing nonstop for two hours and 45 minutes. Being able to alternate allows each of the actors to have a day of rest, in addition to creating a special bond or sisterhood, Groover said.

Having someone to speak to who understands the role the way she does is special, and Villanueva said it is a gift to see Groover’s interpretation of Turner and see the role outside of herself from another perspective.

“We understand each other more because we know what it feels like to do this role. So, to share it, I think is a beautiful thing,” Groover said. “I know some people like to, unfortunately, make things about a competition, and I hate when they do that, especially with Black women or Black shows — that there can only be one — and there’s enough room for all of us.”

“TINA – The Tina Turner Musical” is onstage at Old National Centre April 30-May 5, 2024. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit BroadwayInIndianapolis.com or ticketmaster.com.

Contact Arts & Culture Reporter Chloe McGowan at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @chloe_mcgowanxx.