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September 27, 2017

Bruce Springsteen gives NYT a glimpse of plans for Broadway residency

The Boss says lengthy run will be his first 'real job'

Concerts Broadway
Bruce Springsteen Philadelphia Owen Sweeney/AP

Bruce Springsteen performs in concert with the E Street Band during “The River Tour 2016” at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016, in Philadelphia.

The next five months of Bruce Springsteen's life may be some of the busiest he'll ever have, even at 68 years old.

"Springsteen on Broadway," a prestigious residency that debuts Oct. 3 at the 960-seat Walter Kerr Theatre, caused a stir this summer when Ticketmaster's Verified Fan system effectively put a clamp on the first-come, first-served model that often leads to egregious scalping.

At the end of the day, there were still $17,000 tickets popping up on StubHub and fans around the world felt shut out. Springsteen has sold out stadiums for decades. On Broadway, you can't please everyone.

In a ranging interview published Wednesday by The New York Times, Springsteen offers audiences their first real glimpse into what he has in store for the shows, which will continue five nights a week through February.

The game plan will come from the inspiration he felt performing an intimate show for about 250 staffers of the departing Obama White House. While we knew Springsteen planned to mix career-spanning songs and spoken stories, he now says the show will act as a live expansion of his "VH1 Storytellers" special in 2005.

That would be the closest thing to what I’m doing now. When I did the VH1 thing, Elvis Costello came up to me later and said, “Gee, it created some third entity.” And that’s what I’m interested in doing with the show. I’m playing familiar music, but I believe it will lead you to hear it with very fresh ears by the context that I set it in. I always make a comment that when things are working in art, one plus one equals three.

The full interview, conducted at Springsteen's home studio in Colts Neck, New Jersey, also reveals that the two-hour performances will feature only a grand piano and an "array of guitars." Any other bells and whistles of Broadway were eschewed in favor of perfecting the sound design, led by Brian Ronan of Tony Award-winning "The Book of Mormon" and "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical."

If you're not among the privileged few who can attend "Springsteen on Broadway," take heart: There's a new record on the way.