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Overview | The Alicia Keys musical, ‘Hell’s Kitchen,’ is good, and not anything extra

NEW YORK — In “Hell’s Kitchen,” they’ve crafted a wonderfully great musical out of the soul-fired songbook of Alicia Keys. Ali, a personality impressed via the teenage Keys and performed via newcomer Maleah Joi Moon, is strong-willed however great. Her boo, Knuck (Chris Lee), is just a little standoffish but additionally in point of fact great. In spite of her arduous shell, Ali’s mom, Jersey (Shoshana Bean), turns out lovely darn great, too. As for Ali’s unreliable, most commonly absent father, Davis (Brandon Victor Dixon): You’d need to grant that, at some degree, he’s roughly — neatly, you get the image.

Even New York, the cruel burg Keys and Jay-Z and others romanticized within the 2009 track “Empire State of Thoughts” — and now the “Hell’s Kitchen” finale — comes throughout as a chummy the town the place you’re certain to search out your personal supportive group. And likewise dance so much, within the singer-songwriter’s anthology musical that marked its reliable opening Sunday evening at off-Broadway’s Public Theater.

So, to recap: Keys and corporate have written a display about house that isn’t all that a lot to write down house about. The use of Keys’s blues-, jazz- and pop-infused compositions, director Michael Greif and librettist Kristoffer Diaz assemble a teenage coming-of-age musical with lots of the characters we’ve come to grasp and stay two steps forward of: the stressed 17-year-old, the protecting mother, the lovable boyfriend, the difficult trainer.

They and a spunky ensemble had been assembled on dressmaker Robert Brill’s scaffolded set (which can remind you of different Greif-directed tasks, such because the Pulitzer-winning “Subsequent to Commonplace”). In 23 songs written via Keys with different artists, they inform the tried-and-true tale of a celeb and her roots. Excluding that, at the proof of “Hell’s Kitchen,” there isn’t a lot scintillating tale to inform.

What “Hell’s Kitchen” does dish out in considerable parts are vocalizing and dancing pleasures. The performances via Lee, Bean, Dixon and Kecia Lewis (the remaining as Ali’s lovingly stern piano trainer, Leave out Liza Jane) are sung with polished, from time to time dazzling conviction. Oozing street-smart appeal, Moon makes an outstanding skilled debut as Keys’s adjust ego (even supposing one hopes that with this octave-traversing position, Moon’s voice stays suitably rested). And Camille A. Brown’s choreography, alive with the city power of hip-hop and space dancing, supplies a competent supply of electrical energy.

“She’s only a lady and he or she’s on fireplace,” is going the lyric to “Woman on Fireplace,” from Keys’s 2012 album of that identify. Like lots of the songs in “Hell’s Kitchen” — the Midtown New york community the place the singer-songwriter grew up — this one satisfies the display’s autobiographical mandate. “Gramercy Park,” sweetly sung via Lee and Moon, takes position, aptly sufficient, in that prosperous district, the place Knuck works as a space painter, and “Pawn It All,” delivered with blow-the-speakers-out energy via Bean, expresses all of Jersey’s unhappiness on the awful husband and father she opted for.

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You’re by no means reasonably allowed to put out of your mind over the 2½ hours of “Hell’s Kitchen” {that a} musical constructed on “discovered” tune has a restricted toolbox. Greif, Diaz and Brown line up the ensemble on the most sensible of Act 2 for a heartwarming “Authors of Without end”: “So let’s have fun the dreamers/ We embody the distance between us,” they sing — a scene that turns out patterned on “Seasons of Love,” the unforgettable Act 2 opener of the Greif-directed “Hire.” The top devised for Leave out Liza Jane, graciously embodied via Lewis, additionally appears like one thing taken from the Information to Inspirational Characters.

Keys’s lovers most likely received’t dangle the musical to account for those somewhat standard-issue parts, because the orchestrations via Adam Blackstone and Tom Kitt, preparations via Blackstone and Keys, and tune path via Dominic Fallacaro so exuberantly reproduce the tunes they love. It’s all in provider of one thing in need of fabulous. Simply, , great.

Hell’s Kitchen, tune and lyrics via Alicia Keys, e-book via Kristoffer Diaz. Directed via Michael Greif. Choreography, Camille A. Brown; tune supervision, Adam Blackstone; Units, Robert Brill; costumes, Dede Ayite; lighting fixtures, Natasha Katz; sound, Gareth Owen; projections, Peter Nigrini; orchestrations, Adam Blackstone and Tom Kitt. With Chad Carstarphen, Crystal Monee Corridor, Vanessa Ferguson. About 2½ hours. Thru Jan. 14 at Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., New York.


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