Excitement is building for Alicia Keys’ upcoming musical Hell’s Kitchen. Keys took to Instagram yesterday to share her enthusiasm for the production and her neighborhood: “I can’t wait for y’all to fall in love with Hell’s Kitchen!!!!” Meanwhile, the Public Theater has announced a two-week extension for the world premiere show loosely based on the life story of the Grammy Award-winning artist and former Manhattan Plaza resident.

Alicia Keys  with mom Terri as a kid at Manhattan Plaza
A young Alica Keys at home with her mother, Terri. Photo: Alicia Keys Instagram

Keys said: “This musical means SO much, on so many levels. This is for all of US!!!” The singer-songwriter added a touch of her signature rebellious spirit, saying, “We’re definitely the troublemakers in the theater, and it’s a good thing, because you should be able to have a good time. I can’t stand those stiff people.”

In her Instagram post, Keys also gave a shoutout to up-and-coming actress Maleah Joi Moon, promising audiences would “watch a star be born” and shared archive pictures of her time at Manhattan Plaza.

Alicia Keys home studio
Alicia Keys in her home studio as a teenager. Photo: Alicia Keys Instagram

The coming-of-age production has been in the making for more than a decade. In 2011, Keys chose Kristoffer Diaz, an award-winning playwright, to pen the book. In 2018, Michael Greif — who has won three Obie Awards and received four Tony Award nominations, for RentGrey GardensNext to Normal and Dear Evan Hansen — joined the project as director.

The musical has a cast of 20 — and the biggest budget of any show done at the Public Theater. Actress Maleah Joi Moon will play Ali, with Chad Carstarphen in the role of Ray – the doorman at Manhattan Plaza. 

Alicia Keys and Maleah Joi Moon Hell's Kitchen
Alica Keys says: “Watch a star be born in Maleah Joi Moon”. Photos: Public Theater

The show includes rejigged arrangements of Fallin’, If I Ain’t Got You, Un-Thinkable (I’m Ready) and Empire State of Mind, as well as The Gospel and Work on It, from Keys’ 2016 album Here, and Like Water from 2021’s Keys. “You’re hearing the songs that you love, but in ways you’ve never heard them before,” Keys told Vogue in an interview. She also recalled early visits to the theatre with her mom: “She’s the best person to go to a Broadway play with. She is the loudest, the one that’s gonna sing the most…. She’s gonna be the one that everyone’s telling to shush,” Keys said. “We’re definitely the troublemakers in the theater, and it’s a good thing, because you should be able to have a good time. I can’t stand those stiff people.”

Hell’s Kitchen begins performances with a Joseph Papp Free Performance on Tuesday, October 24 and officially opens on Sunday, November 19. Originally scheduled to finish Sunday, December 10, the production will now run through Saturday, December 23. Full-price single tickets for the additional two weeks go on sale on Thursday, September 14 at noon.

The Public’s Joseph Papp Free Performance initiative will offer free tickets to the performance on Tuesday, October 24 through TodayTix. The Lottery will open for entries on Thursday, October 19 and close at 12pm on Monday, October 23. On the day of each performance, a limited number of $40 tickets will be available through a digital lottery provided by TodayTix. Additionally, an in-person ticket lottery will be held in the lobby of The Public Theater prior to each scheduled performance. More details at the Public Theater website.

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