Houston Matters

Why it takes two actors to portray Tina Turner in the musical about her life

Ernie Manouse talks with the two performers who play the music legend onstage in “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical,” which runs this week at The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.

Rock ‘n roll icon Tina Turner performing during her 50th Anniversary Tour in 2009.


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Last May, rock n' roll superstar Tina Turner passed away at the age of 83. Known for hits such as Proud Mary, Simply the Best, What's Love Got to Do With It, Private Dancer, and many others, Turner left behind a tremendous contribution to music.

Now, her life and musical journey are immortalized in the hit musical Tina: The Tina Turner musical, which chronicles her humble beginnings and transformation into one of the best-selling artists of all time – and it's all set to her hit songs.

Promotional imagery for Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
Promotional imagery for “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical,” which runs Jan. 2-7 at The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.

For someone as iconic and larger than life as Turner, if you're going to base a whole musical off her life, you're going to need not one, but two actresses to play the legendary queen of rock n' roll. And actresses Ari Groover and Parris Lewis evenly share the role of Turner, with each playing four of the eight weekly performances in the national tour, which happens to open tonight and runs through Jan. 7 at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.

Houston Public Media's Ernie Manouse recently spoke with both of them and asked if they watch each other's performances and whether that influences how they present their roles or if they try to keep their approaches separate. And he learned how Turner herself influenced the production before her death.