Bruce Springsteen was both the star and an audience member Sunday night, when he attended the free-to-the-public screening of Netflix’s “Springsteen on Broadway" at the Pollak Theatre at Monmouth University in West Long Branch.
The Boss came in, relatively incognito, about 10 minutes after the movie started. He sat with film director Thom Zimny, who gave a short introduction to the film, and his Springsteen co-manager Barbara Carr, toward the back of the center section of seating.
The theater, which was nearly full, holds just over 700.
“He was wearing a baseball hat and he came in after it started in the dark,” said filmmaker and surfing advocate Jeff Salmon, who attended the screening.
Springsteen left through a backdoor after the showing and most in the audience did not know he was there.
On screen, he was hard to miss.
“It was absolutely brilliant, very outstanding,” said Sarah Salmon of Ocean Twp., Jeff’s mom. She also saw the Boss in the audience. “I admire him more than I ever did after seeing this.”
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The screening took place on the stage where Springsteen performed two rehearsal shows of “Springsteen on Broadway” for a ticketed audience of friends and insiders in September of 2017. The show ran at the Walter Kerr Theatre on Broadway from Oct. 3, 2017 to Dec. 15, 2018, and it garnered Springsteen a Special Tony Award.
Springsteen also appeared on stage at the theater for "A Conversation with Bruce Springsteen," also starring Bob Santelli, in January of 2017.
Monmouth University and the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music, located on the university’s campus, were the hosts of Sunday’s screening.