The Varley Factor: Let's Bring Jay-Z and Alicia Keys to Broadway
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by Eddie Varley
Welcome to The Varley Factor, BroadwayWorld.com's newest ongoing blog series from Creative Director, Eddie Varley. Look for 'The Factor' to bring you Varley's unique brand of commentary on all things theatrical... Get ready Broadway!
In my last blog, I know its been forever since my last blog, I chatted about a few things I'm excited about regarding "the Broadway" as the kids call it.
Since then I've continued to try and find inspiration as I wing about town, this town named New York City. I think you have to keep yourself open to the things that silently - or NOT so silently - surround you in Manhattan. This city joyously inspired the musical works of everyone from Leonard Bernstein to Lin-Manuel Miranda, and it will only continue to inspire thousands more in the days and years to come.
Two native New Yorkers of some musical renown, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, have joined together to create a fairly addictive new anthem about their beloved hometown, "Empire State of Mind."
I admit I am REALLY loving the song, I'm bananas for it. Why you ask? Because I hear the thrill of the city in its tone and musical story. There is something about these two artists singing about the city where their wildest dreams have come true that really does inspire me. And it hit me at a time when I'm feeling a wee bit burnt out, if one more news story breaks about one more unwanted revival hitting the Rialto I'm gonna plotz. I want new, I want fresh and I want it now. So, I got me an idea!
With the rap melodies of Lin-Manuel's Tony Award favorite IN THE HEIGHTS still winning the hearts of audiences over at the Richard Rodgers eight times a week and the news that Run DMC will soon be creating a Broadway show centered around their career, why not have "Empire State of Mind" work its musical alchemy on the theatrical stage?
I should think Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' barely contained enthusiasm for New York City can leap beyond one song, imagine what their pairing could bring to the stage? Keys studied at the prestigious Professional Performance Arts School of Manhattan, where she majored in choir, and you can hear that solid structure in all her work. Jay-Z is a master storyteller in his music and he continues to top himself with each release. Watch the video below and I think you'll understand the potential.
"These streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you..."