With a song catalog that includes hits such as “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” “Proud Mary,” “Private Dancer” and “River Deep — Mountain High,” Tina Turner is one of the most successful women rockers of all time.
But things weren’t always easy for the legendary singer. Turner’s story is also shaped by an unstable family life and many societal injustices women of color continue to face today.
The show includes all the hit songs you would expect, but also delves deep into Turner’s abusive relationship with husband Ike Turner, as well as her fight with racism, sexism and ageism.
Turner persevered, eventually achieving one of the greatest musical comebacks in history.
Naomi Rodgers and Zurin Villanueva share the role of Turner, while Garrett Turner tackles Ike and Roz White plays Zelma Bullock, mother to the iconic star.
An alumnus of Howard University, White is thrilled to be headed back to D.C. to perform.
“I’ve been a fan of Tina Turner since I was about 14 and ‘Private Dancer’ came out; we had the vinyl and I’ve always loved her music,” White says. “If you look back through my Facebook over the years, I’ve posted about her a lot. She’s such an icon and I found some similarities between the two of us — we have these raspy singing voices and the same energy on stage. I’ve [performed] a lot of Tuner songs in my day singing in bands.”
White also danced on Bourbon Street in New Orleans for three years, and one of her most popular numbers was “Proud Mary.”
She considers herself somewhat an expert on Turner and her music. Still, she learned some things once she started in the production.
“This show comes from Tina’s memory,” White says. “I know Tina herself has been so excited about this Broadway tour because she wanted America to hear her true story. From growing up in Nutbush, Tennessee, her close relationship with her grandmother, her not-so-close relationship with her mother and all the trials and tribulations she went through to become the iconic singer we know as Tina Turner today.”
As Turner’s mom, White’s involves more acting than singing, though she does get a standout number with “It’s Going to Work Out Fine,” a song she sings with Ike before her daughter heads out with him on tour.
The actress compares the production to “a rock concert with a book jammed in,” marrying the great hits with a compelling true tale.
“You do not need to know about Tina and her life to enjoy this show. Audiences will learn the story of an amazing young girl. She was about 7 years old when her parents basically abandoned her, so she was raised by her grandmother. She had so much courage and wouldn’t let anyone stop her from being who she wanted to be.”
A veteran of the stage, White is having a blast traveling with the touring cast.
“If you want to have an amazing time and see the best in the business, [come join us]. Our cast ranges in age from 9 to more than 60. There’s something for everybody. Plus, it’s Tina Turner’s music, so how could you not be entertained?”
“Tina — The Tina Turner Musical” opens October 4 at National Theatre and runs through October 23. Tickets start at $60. Visit thenationaldc.com to learn more and purchase tickets.
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