5 reasons to see Alicia Keys’ musical ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ on Broadway

The jukebox musical breathes new life into Keys' incomparable catalog.

An electrifying new musical has come to Broadway. The semi-autobiographical show from Alicia Keys opened over the weekend, and we’re breaking down five reasons the show is a must-see event this Broadway season.

"Hell's Kitchen" Broadway Opening Night
Alicia Keys attends “Hell’s Kitchen” Broadway opening night at Shubert Theatre on April 20, 2024, in New York City. (Photo by Jason Mendez/Getty Images) Credit: Photo byJason Mendez / Getty Images

Come for the hits

First and foremost: “Hell’s Kitchen” is a jukebox musical, and an excellent one at that. Unlike others like it, the show does not simply rest on Keys’ immense catalog to succeed. Instead, it uses the songs to tell a larger, grander story, often retooling and reshaping the numbers contextually and even sonically (“Fallin’, one of Keys’s signature songs, specifically stands out in a showstopping Act II moment).

A moving story

The show takes audiences on a thrilling coming-of-age adventure set in 1990s New York City. From the opening number, you feel transported back in time, following young Ali (Maleah Joi Moon) as she navigates her first love, her journey as an artist, and her unexpected loss in one of the most pivotal moments of her life. Moon injects endless ferocity and tenderness into the protagonist, who pushes up against her responsibilities as a student and a daughter in an ever-changing world.

Her mother Jersey, played by the marvelous Shoshana Bean, is another pivotal part of the show’s narrative, serving as another entry point for the audience. The character shines as a moving portrait of a mother doing everything she can to protect and raise her daughter while reckoning with her own past.

Thrilling choreography

The show features dazzling choreography from Camille A. Brown, who is known for her acclaimed work on the stage in productions like “Choir Boy,” “Once on This Island” and more. The true heartbeat of the show, Brown’s choreography takes us from scene to scene, supercharging the story with energy that impresses all the way to the last seat in the house.

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Unparalleled voices

Keys’ stunning music is sung by some of the strongest voices currently on the Great White Way. Moon and Bean both bring down the house with glorious vocals that fill the entire theater, handling Keys’ greatest hits and newer offerings with care and specificity. Her songs reach new heights due to the supporting performances in the show as well, including Brandon Victor Dixon, who has the audience in the palm of his hand from the second he gloriously begins singing Keys’ song “Not Even the King.”

An authentically New York experience

Overall, the experience is an uplifting and moving one, as Ali’s journey can’t help but leave you filled with joy, hope, and an immense love for the city that she calls home. When the eventual performance of Keys’ hit “Empire State of Mind” comes, it is earned, as the entire show itself is a celebration of New York City and the dreamers, lovers, teenagers, and people who inhabit it every day.

For more on “Hell’s Kitchen,” including ticketing information, head to the official site here.