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The Broadway Review: ‘The Heart of Rock and Roll’ is a greatest-hits album of Broadway clichés

Jonathan A. Abrams’s offering is a rote but still rollicking musical scored to Huey Lewis and the News’ nostalgia-inducing discography. 

(Foreground, L-R) Corey Cott and McKenzie Kurtz in “The Heart of Rock and Roll,” Broadway, 2024 (Credit: Matthew Murphy)

Good evening, and welcome to Broadway News’ Broadway Review by Brittani Samuel — our overview of reactions, recommendations and information tied to tonight’s Broadway opening of “The Heart of Rock and Roll.” 


Corey Cott in “The Heart of Rock and Roll,” Broadway, 2024 (Credit: Matthew Murphy)

Come one, come all, and get thee to the James Earl Jones Theatre because history is happening before our very eyes. Behold what surely must be the first Broadway musical crafted completely by artificial intelligence. That’s the only explanation for a show as rote and paint-by-numbers predictable as “The Heart of Rock and Roll.” The show sets a bubbling love story between guitar-shredding box factory laborer Bobby and by-the-book box factory heiress Cassandra to a score of singles from Huey Lewis and the News’ heyday. (Only one song, “Be Somebody,” was written for the production). Lewis’ jukebox experiment is only “original,” in the technical sense, with a contrived book by Jonathan A. Abrams. His script is so desperately referential, it borders on satire.

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