That Broad­way melody will soon be Spring­steen

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E - BEN SISARIO

NEW YORK — MetLife Sta­dium, in East Ruther­ford, New Jersey, can ac­com­mo­date well over 50,000 peo­ple for a con­cert.

The Wal­ter Kerr The­ater on Broad­way is a frac­tion of that size, with room for just un­der 1,000.

What they have in com­mon is Bruce Spring­steen, who sold out MetLife three times last year and is com­ing to the Wal­ter Kerr in Oc­to­ber for eight weeks of solo shows that he wants to be “as per­sonal and in­ti­mate as pos­si­ble.”

“I chose Broad­way for this project be­cause it has the beau­ti­ful old the­atres which seemed like the right set­ting for what I have in mind,” Spring­steen said in a state­ment. “In fact, with one or two ex­cep­tions, the 960 seats of the Wal­ter Kerr The­ater is prob­a­bly the small­est venue I’ve played in the last 40 years.”

The show, “Spring­steen on Broad­way,” will run five nights a week, Tues­day to Satur­day, at the Wal­ter Kerr, the rose-and-gold-dec­o­rated jewel box on West 48th Street that last housed the short-lived “Amélie: A New Mu­si­cal.”

The of­fi­cial open­ing is set for Oct. 12, and the run is planned through Nov. 26. Pre­view per­for­mances be­gin Oct. 3.

In ad­di­tion to his mu­sic, the show will fea­ture Spring­steen, 67, read­ing ex­cerpts from his 2016 au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, “Born to Run,” and per­form­ing other spo­ken rem­i­nis­cences writ­ten for the show.

“My show is just me, the gui­tar, the pi­ano and the words and mu­sic,” he said. “Some of the show is spo­ken, some of it is sung. It loosely fol­lows the arc of my life and my work.”

The show has been per­haps the worstkept se­cret on Broad­way since news of it leaked in June. But one as­pect of it has still held some sus­pense: How would Spring­steen, who has had well-doc­u­mented frus­tra­tions with scalpers, han­dle what will surely be a crush­ing ticket de­mand?

The an­swer is Ver­i­fied Fan, a new tech­nol­ogy from Tick­et­mas­ter that is meant to weed out bots and high-vol­ume scalpers from the tick­et­ing-buying process. The sys­tem, which Tick­et­mas­ter has been us­ing since Fe­bru­ary, asks prospec­tive buy­ers to reg­is­ter in ad­vance, and checks users’ pur­chase his­to­ries and even so­cial me­dia ac­tiv­ity to con­firm their le­git­i­macy.

Like ev­ery­thing Tick­et­mas­ter does, the sys­tem has drawn plenty of gripes on­line. But the com­pany has been pro­mot­ing the tech­nol­ogy as its best ef­fort to elim­i­nate the plague of on­line ticket bots, which are now banned by fed­eral law.

Ac­cord­ing to Tick­et­mas­ter, 90 per cent of the tick­ets it has sold through Ver­i­fied Fan were kept from im­me­di­ately ap­pear­ing on se­condary mar­kets. But with se­condary ticket sales es­ti­mated at $8 bil­lion a year, that mar­ket may never been fully elim­i­nated.

Ticket reg­is­tra­tion for “Spring­steen on Broad­way” be­gan Wed­nes­day and will close Aug. 27. Lucky fans will be no­ti­fied Aug. 29, and the tick­ets, priced at $75 to $850, will go on sale the next day.

For Spring­steen, whose last tour with the E Street Band sold an es­ti­mated $268 mil­lion in tick­ets around the world, the show’s eco­nom­ics may be less im­por­tant than the sim­ple lure of play­ing to fans in close con­tact. Jon Lan­dau, his long­time man­ager, said the plans for the show have been in the works since last year.

“Bruce has had this spe­cific idea in mind since last De­cem­ber. It came into fo­cus slowly and then all at once last Jan­uary,” Lan­dau said in a state­ment.

“All of it to­gether,” Spring­steen added, “is in pur­suit of my con­stant goal to pro­vide an en­ter­tain­ing evening and to com­mu­ni­cate some­thing of value.”

MATT SLOCUM, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

“Spring­steen on Broad­way" be­gins pre­views Oct. 3, 2017, ahead of an Oct. 12 open­ing.

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