Jon Landau On Bruce Springsteen’s Return To Broadway: ‘The Show Feels New, Even More Profound’
Rob DeMartin/Courtesy Shore Fire Media –
I Have Seen The Future of Rock and Roll and Broadway: Manager Jon Landau with Bruce Springsteen, who he’s managed since 1977, at the St. James Theater where “Springsteen On Broadway” made its triumphant return June 26, 2021.
On Saturday, Bruce Springsteen and his team, led by longtime manager Jon Landau, brought back the wildly successful “Springsteen on Broadway” show, marking the first time Broadway has had a live performance since the pandemic darkened New York’s Theater District for some 471 days ago.
This is not the same show. For logistical reasons, “Springsteen on Broadway” moved to the larger, 1,710-capacity St. James Theatre (owned, like Walter Kerr, by Jujamcyn Theaters) and features significant setlist changes and alterations to the narrative, which one would expect with the deep societal challenges experienced over the last 16 months.
“Bruce has subtly but significantly enlarged the emotional landscape of the show,” Landau tells Pollstar. “The show feels new, and I think an even more profound experience.”
Rob DeMartin/Courtesy Shore Fire –
Jon Landau: Bruce decided to accept our friend Jordan Roth’s invitation to return to Broadway in late May. However, the Walter Kerr Theatre, where we had done the original 230-plus shows, was unavailable. So, instead, Jordan suggested the St. James, and Bruce loved it at first sight. So, our team, led by our longtime colleague George Travis, one of the show’s producers, had a month to recreate the look we had at the Walter Kerr for the shows at the St. James.
The New York Times today had a great play on words with your famous quote, saying, “I’ve seen the return of Broadway, and its name is Bruce Springsteen.” Do you think there’s any truth to that in the way you mounted the show and how others may now follow suit?
We are, of course, thrilled and honored to be kicking off the new Broadway season. I believe that Bruce’s show is utterly unique, and Broadway is the perfect location for it.
How rusty was the team in putting together the show after so long?
Not at all – the prep was all smooth as silk. Once again, we had our lighting director, Natasha Katz, our set designer Heather Wolensky and our Broadway sound designer Brian Ronan, who have all made stellar contributions.
Apparently, the proof of vaccine process went well. How were the protocols developed and what’s your take on them? How long do you think they may continue for?
We have generally been following New York state recommendations, and we are personally interested in providing the audience, the staff and crew and ourselves with the safest possible environment. We will continue to monitor and update our approach as new recommendations are issued.
Rob DeMartin/Courtesy Shore Fire –
New York City Serenade: Bruce Springsteen backstage.
It’s incredible that the opening line from the previous run, “I am here tonight to give proof of life,” became even more resonant, was that the case with other parts of the show?
I think it has all been deepened by the events of our recent history.
How are ticket sales and pricing as we’re seeing inflation increasing expenses and prices and a lot of tours coming up competing for consumer dollars?
Our prices have remained the same as they were in October 2017, when “Springsteen on Broadway” opened at the Walter Kerr.
There’s 30 dates announced now, do you think it will extend past August?