Boston Reclaims Its Place in Theater History with the Pre-Broadway Run of Neil Diamond Musical 'A Beautiful Noise'

Kristyn Burtt

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"Boston Theater District" by Zaw Zaw Aung is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The news on Tuesday that Neil Diamond's Broadway-bound musical, A Beautiful Noise, will have its pre-Broadway tryout in Boston had theater fans cheering. This is the latest big musical in the last decade to test its wings in what was once the No.1 place to stop from the 1920s through the 1970s before hitting the Great White Way. Boston, Massachusetts is happy to be back on the theater map!

The jukebox musical will be making its world premiere at the Emerson Colonial Theatre from June 21, 2022, through July 17, 2022, and will showcase the "Sweet Caroline" singer's rise from his early childhood in Brooklyn, New York to achieving his dreams as a songwriter and international recording artist. Boston is the perfect place to showcase his work because it was Diamond, who gave hope to the city after the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 by singing at Fenway Park.

“I’ve had the joy of coming to Boston on countless occasions, but one of the most special was my 2013 trip to Fenway where I had the honor of being part of a moment of relief, unity, strength, and love," he said in the press release. 2022 will also mark a big return for theater in general, which has been brutally hit by the pandemic shut down.

“Next summer, when ‘A Beautiful Noise’ has its first performance at the Emerson Colonial Theatre, and we’re all able to safely be in the same space together, experiencing the thrill of live theater, I imagine those same emotions will wash over me and the entire audience," he continued. "Relief... Unity... Strength... Love... I can’t wait to share that experience.”

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Emerson Colonial Theater: Boston, MA by BrettLewis88 is marked with CC0 1.0

While casting information has yet to be released, the production will be produced by two-time Tony winner Ken Davenport (Once On This Island, Kinky Boots) and Bob Gaudio (Jersey Boys). There is also a hometown connection with Davenport, who grew up west of Boston in Sturbridge, and has gone on to great success mounting shows like Kinky Boots and Spring Awakening.

The welcome Diamond news comes on the heels of the successful out-of-town tryout of Moulin Rouge! The Musical at the Colonial Theatre as well as Jagged Little Pill, Waitress, Pippin and Finding Neverland at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge. Boston audiences have always been receptive to the arts and new productions, and it was a favorite amongst theater creators back in the day. That's why the city is happy to return to such a prestigious status.

With Boston back in the mix, that still won't diminish other popular cities for out-of-town tryouts like Chicago, San Diego and Washington, D.C. and a local favorite for Broadway producers — Off-Broadway. There are certain costs associated with bringing it to an expensive city versus moving the production just down the road to Times Square, but there are benefits to getting a show up and running away from the prying eyes of the Broadway community. (And yes, the theater critics!)

Yet no matter what the method is, it's just a hard and arduous process, add a pandemic and an economic recovery into the plan, and you understand what producers are up against. While Broadway isn't officially open just yet, it's a sure bet that Diamond's feel-good songs and nostalgic familiarity are sure to bring a lot of smiles to Boston audiences. That's exactly what the show's creators are banking on when the show reaches Times Square — they hope New England tees up a successful and profitable run for A Beautiful Noise that will bring people back to the theater after a long COVID-induced absence.

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Kristyn Burtt is a commercial dance journalist, TV host and producer. She was the West Coast correspondent and host of "To the Pointe" on Dance Network for five years. Her coverage of "So You Think You Can Dance," "Dancing With the Stars" and "World of Dance" is popular with dance fans across the globe. Kristyn's love of dance began early in her life. She trained at the Boston Ballet School, danced with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in "The Nutcracker" and won a dance scholarship to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She currently serves on the American Dance Movement’s Marketing & PR Committee and is a member of the Television Academy and SAG-AFTRA.

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