Bob Dylan Comes to Broadway

Choreographer Twyla Tharp follows up her Billy Joel musical with a Dylan show

Bob Dylan
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October 19, 2006

After Twyla Tharp's Billy Joel-themed Movin' Out became the longest-running dance musical in Broadway history, the legendary choreographer went looking for a follow-up. She found it in the music of Bob Dylan, which she used to create The Times They Are A-Changin'. Previews began in New York on September 25th. Singing twenty-five Dylan tunes – from "Mr. Tambourine Man" to obscure gems like "Everything Is Broken" – Tharp's cast tells the story of a traveling circus broken down on the road. "I began by listening to his whole catalog," Tharp says. "I looked for music that I thought was of thematic use to me." J.J. Jackson, who was Dylan's touring guitarist for six years in the 1990s, fronts the house band. Dylan himself was impressed with the show when he caught a dress rehearsal in San Diego (the show ran in previews there to mixed reviews earlier this year). "After the show, he said, 'J.J., you didn't play like that when you played for me – I might have to hire you back.' " Jackson says. "I told him, 'Sorry, I'm working for Twyla now.' "

This story is from the October 19, 2006 issue of Rolling Stone.

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