The Rascals Coming to Broadway – Your First Live Concert? [VIDEO]
The Rascals are like the music of my life.
Most anyone who’s Italian American growing up in the 60s felt a kinship with the foursome that, for all intents and purposes, were like our version of the Beatles.
Well, so does Little Steven, and that’s why he’s bringing them to the Broadway stage.
Do you remember your first live concert? Steven Van Zandt certainly does, almost 50 years ago.
It was 1965, and he was at a skating rink in Keyport, N.J. Headlining that night: The Young Rascals, who were promoting their hit “Good Lovin’.” The price was $2.50.
Making that night even more special? A young Bruce Springsteen was also there. The two New Jersey natives would meet soon after and bond over the classic American blue-eyed soul band.
Forty-eight years later, Van Zandt has found a way to repay The Rascals by taking the original four-man band to their biggest and most unlikely stage — on Broadway.
The reunited band will play 15 performances at the Richard Rodgers Theatre beginning next month (performances start April 15), a show combining live performance, video reenactments, archival concert and news footage, op-art backdrops and psychedelic lighting.
The show has some 30 Rascals songs but also finds time to explore their influence on more than music. The band was known to fight discrimination by demanding that a black act appear on the bill at each of their concerts.
Van Zandt, who shares directing duties with visual designer Marc Brickman, says the show marks a new phenomenon for Broadway: not a musical like “Jersey Boys” and also not a concert by, say, Frankie Valli.
He calls it a “bio concert” and thinks it could be the wave of the future. “This could be a new form and a new industry,” he says. “We got ‘Jersey Boys’ with the Four Seasons in it.”
The push to really reunite The Rascals began three years ago when Van Zandt and his wife, Maureen, were being honored at a cancer fundraiser. He wanted to do something special, and Maureen suggested he reach out to the band.
Before the benefit, the four members of The Rascals had just three days of rehearsal — the first time they’d played together in decades — and Van Zandt was blown away.
Hoping to keep the momentum going, Van Zandt conceived of the current show. In December the four original Rascals performed it for six sold-out shows at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y.
For Van Zandt, keeping them together for Broadway was his expression of gratitude. “How do I thank them? Well, reuniting them was not enough in the end,” he says. “It was like, ‘OK, that’s a miracle.’ But not miraculous enough for me.”
A few of us plan on going to the show.
And while I’d seen a couple of incarnations of the Rascals in recent years, nothing can compare to the real thing.
I’m all geeked out with anticipation…like a teenage girl would be to see Taylor Swift!
We owe a debt of gratitude to Little Steven and his memory of attending his first concert for getting them back together.
Digging back, do you remember what was the first live concert you’d gone to?