On October 13,2016, Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for literature. He is the first American songwriter to ever win this award. One of Bob Dylan’s unique characteristics is his ability to reach an extremely wide crowd, including those on Broadway, according to an article originally published on New York Theater Me. Bob is the only person to have ever won an Academy Award and a Nobel Prize.
Bob’s music has been featured in four Broadway musicals. The first time that Broadway lit up to a Dylan song was on October 26, 1970 when theater goers heard “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” and “Dear Landlord” in the musical Play Play with Music at the Paul Sills’ Story Theatre. This show was Dylan’s music longest run on Broadway.
Dylan fans had to wait over a decade for Bob Dylan’s music to light up a Broadway stage again. On October 24, 1982, fans heard “Blowin in the Wind,” “’Like a Rolling Stone” and “Forever Young” during the weeklong musical revue called Rock ‘N Roll! The First 5,000 Years held at the St. James’ Theatre. Despite the fact that this show only saw nine regular performances, the New York Times described it as an amazing summary of music over the last 25 years.
Bob Dylan’s music was next heard on Broadway in “The Times They Are A-Changin’” at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Bob wrote all the music for this dance show which featured many artists including Twyla Tharp. This show received mostly negative reviews and closed on November 19, 2006. Songs performed during this Broadway show included “Don’t Be Thinking Twice It’s All Right,” “Knocking on Heaven’s Door,” “Mr. Trombone Man” and “On a Night Like This.”
The last time that Bob Dylan’s music was heard on Broadway was on February 9, 2014, in the music A Night with Janis Joplin where she sings “I Shall Be Released.” This show opened on October 10, 2013. It was originally held at the Lyceum Theatre before being moved off-Broadway.