George Rodriguez

The blue-eyed soul music of THE RASCALS is back — in Broadway form.


For people of a certain age, The Rascals epitomized 1960s idealism, exemplified in addictive feel-good tunes like “Groovin’,” “Good Lovin’ ” and “A Beautiful Morning.” The band’s innovative sound brought rhythm and blues to wider audiences, and now — with a 2012 test run in Port Chester, N.Y., under its belt — The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream is set to return to Broadway from Dec. 16 through Jan. 5, 2014, at the Marquis Theatre.

The show is the brainchild of none other than Steven Van Zandt, the guitarist from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band who also played the role of Silvio Dante on The ­Sopranos for eight seasons. Van Zandt, who shares directing duties with Marc Brickman, was moved to mount the production because The Rascals “introduced a lot of us young white kids to soul music and R&B, and they were much closer to the source than The Beatles. They were fantastic songwriters, and they invented their own genre: blue-eyed soul.”

Because the band was so short-lived — together from the mid-’60s to the early ’70s — Van Zandt says that the group’s original fans “never thought they’d see them live. This is the lost band of the ’60s, and what’s exciting is that they’re bringing their children and grandchildren.”

Van Zandt allows that his own name may draw some people to the musical, “but they’re leaving as The Rascals’ fans — and they’re coming out of the show with this glow of the ’60s, this optimism and hope. It’s a revelation.”