The Rascals On Broadway

What started as Steven Van Zandt’s Kickstarter project to reunite the original Rascals for a three-night run has turned into a Broadway event. “The Rascals: Once Upon A Dream” premieres on the Great White Way in April.

Photo: AP Photo
File photo showing Gene Cornish, Eddie Brigati, Dino Danelli and Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals at JFK Airport in New York.

In the last half of 2012 Van Zandt was aiming for more than just one concert reuniting original Rascals Felix Cavaliere, Gene Cornish, Eddie Brigati and Dino Danelli.  The E Street guitarist was thinking of something bigger; a series of shows featuring the band along with film and news footage of the group all wrapped up in what he called a “rock concert and a Broadway show.”

So he took to Kickstarter, telling fans that the project would need to accumulate $100,000 by mid-October for The Rascals to play the Capital Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y., in December.  Fans gave, three additional nights were scheduled, the band played and fans were in heaven.

Now the group that started out as “The Young Rascals” and recorded mega-hits such as “People Gotta Be Free,” “Groovin’” and “Good Lovin’” is preparing to make its Broadway debut this spring.

Up until December, the original Rascals had reunited only twice.  The first time came in 1997 when Van Zandt inducted the band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  The second time was in 2010 when the band regrouped for the Kristen Ann Carr Fund’s “Night To Remember” charity event at Robert DeNiro’s Tribeca Grill in New York City, capped with Van Zandt and Bruce Springsteen joining the group for a rendition of “Good Lovin.’”

But the Rock Hall ceremony as well as the charity gig at DiNiro’s eatery were essentially private events and the band’s Port Chester shows in December 2012 marked the first time the original members had performed publicly since 1970.

Described by Playbill as a “concert event” written by Van Zandt, “The Rascals: Once Upon A Dream” was written by Cavaliere and Brigati and is directed by Van Zandt and Marc Brickman, who also designed the show’s stage, video and lighting.  Van Zandt, along with his wife Maureen, are the producers.  The production, featuring a concert set by the original members coupled with a multimedia production that even includes actors playing key events in the band’s history, opens at the Richard Rodgers Theatre April 15 and runs until May 5 for a total of 15 shows.

Here are the dates: April 15-16, 18-19, 20, 23-24, 26-28, 30, May 1 & 3-5.  Tickets go on sale Feb. 22.  Check out Van Zandt’s “Underground Garage” Facebook page for more information.