WSW: Playwrights Capture The "Exuberance" And "Theatrical" Work Of Bruce Springsteen (Rebroadcast)

Dec 27, 2018

Cover of the book When the Promise Was Broken: Short Plays Inspired by the Songs of Bruce Springsteen
Credit Smith and Kraus Publishers

Western Michigan University Theater Department Chair Joan Herrington says when playwrights were asked to contribute to a book of plays inspired by the music of Bruce Springsteen there were usually two responses. One was “a resounding ‘you must be insane’ or an even more resounding ‘this is the thing I’ve been waiting for my entire life.’” Herrington is the Editor of When the Promise Was Broken: Short Plays Inspired by the Songs of Bruce Springsteen.

The book contains 13 plays including Glad for the Company inspired by the song Nebraska. It’s written by Tucker Rafferty, who teaches drama and improvisation at KRESA. Western Michigan University English Professor Steve Feffer wrote the play Growing Up or I Was a Teenage Bruce Springsteen inspired by the song Growin’ Up.


Rafferty’s play is set in a prison where Charles Starkweather is awaiting execution for a murder spree that left 11 people dead in the 1950’s. Feffer’s play incorporates stories that Springsteen has shared on stage about his teen-age years and difficulty at Catholic school.

Feffer says he and Rafferty first had the idea “six or seven years ago.” He says it had several starts and stops. Rafferty says it finally took off when Herrington said “then do it.”