Alicia Keys’ Musical ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ Earns 13 Tony Nominations


May 2, 2024

This semi-autobiographical musical is one to watch!

Alicia Keys is basking in the afterglow of 13 Tony Award nominations for her musical “Hell’s Kitchen,” a project she’s poured her heart and soul into for over a decade. The news left her “freaking out in a really great, awesome, grateful way,” according to a recent interview with the New York Times.

“Hell’s Kitchen,” featuring music by Keys and a book by Kristoffer Diaz, is a deeply personal story for the artist. The musical follows a 17-year-old navigating similar challenges Keys faced in her own youth: a single mother, a yearning for independence, and a passion for music. The story even mirrors Keys’ upbringing in subsidized housing.


Despite her unwavering confidence in the project, the Tony nominations came as a welcome surprise. “You just never know how people receive things,” Keys reflected. “You have to create with your mission in mind.”

That mission extends beyond entertainment. In the interview, Keys revealed a pre-show ritual of burning palo santo, a sacred wood believed to cleanse negativity, throughout the theater.


While revisiting painful aspects of her past through the musical can be emotionally taxing, Keys emphasizes the emotional process involved. “It is painful and it is thrilling and it is emotional and it is honest,” she shared. “There’s something really tremendous about just how it’s taken on a life of its own.”

Keys expressed particular wonder at how the musical re-contextualizes her own music. “When people leave the theater, they say, ‘I never heard those songs like that before,'” she said. “And neither have I!”

With her sights set on a long-running production, Keys remains grounded. “We’re just going to keep working and keep loving, keep believing,” she stated. “And you know, the rest is up to whatever divine choice is meant for this.”


Tickets to see Hell’s Kitchen on Broadway are currently on sale through January at www.hellskitchen.com.

Cover photo: Alicia Keys’ Musical ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ Earns 13 Tony Nominations / Credit: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

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