Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.

JPB
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Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.#0
Posted: 10/26/04 at 10:21pm

This review is pretty good. It is amazing how one show can ignite so many different reactions.

Bridging the gap
The next big innovation on Broadway will be a little musical from Brooklyn'
Monday, October 25, 2004
Tony Brown Plain Dealer Theater Critic
New York
They say the greatest symbolic distance between failure and success is right across a bridge the Brooklyn Bridge from gritty, working-class Brooklyn to the glittering lights of Manhattan.

Now the outer borough has shown a thing or two to almighty Broadway.

"Brooklyn: The Musical," which opened late last week at the Plymouth Theatre, has been the center of attention on Broadway for months because it is the only new musical premiering this fall on the Great White Way.

When the pop/R&B urban fairy tale finally made its long-awaited opening, the New York theater-reviewing establishment was not particularly impressed, calling it cliched and cloying.

But I'm going to go out on a critical limb here and say that years from now, "Brooklyn" will have a revered place in music-theater history as the landmark musical of the first decade of the third millennium, an astounding feat for first-time Broadway composer-lyricists Mark Schoenfeld and Barri McPherson.

And it will be remembered as the show that made Eden Espinosa, a little girl with a voice bigger than Prospect Park, a star. The rest of the cast veterans Kevin Anderson and Cleavant Derricks and relative newcomers Ramona Keller and Karen Olivo isn't bad either.

"Brooklyn" is a little musical with a five-member cast, a $6.75 million budget and what at first might appear to be a ridiculous story. But this particular fairy tale deals head-on with Vietnam War veterans and drug addiction. And though humble about doing so, it achieves Truth with a capital "T."

A young street singer named Brooklyn (Espinosa, an angel who can growl or purr at altitudes that would make even Mount Everest blush), raised by the Sisters of Charity after her mother hanged herself, leaves Paris for New York in search of her long-lost, heroin-addict father (the shaggily handsome Anderson).

Brooklyn gets tangled up with a smart-mouthed hooker named Paradice (Keller, who has lungs like Tina Turner and the in-your-face comic chops of Whoopi Goldberg) - as in "Pair-of-Dice," get it? - and the two sing it out in an "American Idol"-style contest.

Oh, and the set (by Ray Klausen) is strewn with garbage, to emphasize the musical's street creds, and the costumes (by Tobin Ost) are almost entirely made up of recycled trash for what the show calls a "Salvation Armani" look.

Isn't it all a bit silly? Well, yes. But also ingenious and rousing and somehow real.

The emotions at play here are so genuine - Schoenfeld once made a living collecting $40 a day in change singing on street corners in Brooklyn - you can't help but laugh with these lovable, streetwise characters. And cry with them, and want to sidle up to them. And just want to give them all a big group hug.

Second, Schoenfeld and McPherson's pop and R&B musical numbers are the real McCoy, capturing and communicating deep-felt emotions in words and music.

"Heart Behind These Hands" opens and closes the proceedings with the spiritual uplift of a gospel revival down South. "Streetsinger," belted out by the Tony Award-winning Derricks, packs a gut-punch. If you're still standing by then, Brooklyn's "Once Upon a Time" will deliver the knockout punch.

With its urban setting and its appeal to young audiences, "Brooklyn: The Musical" inevitably will be compared to "Rent." "Brooklyn" benefits by the comparison.

Unlike "Rent," which feels long and repetitious at 2 hours and 45 minutes, "Brooklyn" flies by in less than two hours, with no intermission. Director Jeff Calhoun, who last season brought Broadway the "Big River" revival that featured both hearing and hearing-impaired actors using spoken English and American Sign Language, never lets the pacing drag in "Brooklyn." At the same time, he never lets it feel rushed or regimented.

And while "Rent" is largely about middle-class youngsters who choose to live a gritty, inner-city lifestyle because they think it will inform their art, the denizens of "Brooklyn" practice their art to cope with the harsh realities in which they find themselves. They aren't "slumming"; they're struggling.

This struggle is so palpable that when the characters succeed, we succeed with them. "Brooklyn" makes an almost Brechtian appeal to its listeners, urging us to take to the streets, raise our arms in triumph and preach a healing gospel. In the same way that "Rent" was called the "Hair" of Generation X, "Brooklyn" feels like a secular "Godspell" for Generation Next.

And when the curtain falls, the audience cannot help but cheer because we feel as if we have been allowed to share a Broadway success story of the truest and rarest kind. The New York critics don't like it, which may or may not have an effect on the box office.

But even if it closes tomorrow (and it won't; audiences are responding even if the reviewers aren't), "Brooklyn" will have a long and lasting place among Broadway's great musicals. It might take years before it is fully appreciated.

But for those of us who have seen (and gotten) it, it is exhilarating.

At the Plymouth Theatre, 236 W. 45th St. Call 1-800-432-7250.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:

tbrown@plaind.com, 216-999-4181

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re: Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.#1
Posted: 10/26/04 at 10:24pm
"Unlike "Rent," which feels long and repetitious at 2 hours and 45 minutes, "Brooklyn" flies by in less than two hours, with no intermission"

Um, what? RENT does not feel long and repetitive. Lord, I am going to have a stroke. I need a mountain dew, stat people.
"They're eating her and then they're going to eat me. OH MY GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!!!!" -Troll 2
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re: Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.#2
Posted: 10/26/04 at 10:31pm
re: Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.

Sorry Spider, I drank it all.

Dear Lord. Rent dragged and Brooklyn is sincere?

I need somethin' a little stronger.

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re: Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.#3
Posted: 10/26/04 at 10:33pm
wow a new member (a/k/a "swing") took all that time to post that.

and to answer the topic's question: because life is just like that.

and i want to take that little "rent" comment and slap it across that reviewers face.
Updated On: 10/26/04 at 10:33 PM
MargoChanning
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re: Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.#4
Posted: 10/26/04 at 10:36pm
Well there you have it. Look for a line at the Plymouth Theatre box office ten deep tomorrow morning -- the Tony Brown Plain Dealer has spoken!
"What a story........ everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end." -- Birdie [http://margochanning.broadwayworld.com/] "The Devil Be Hittin' Me" -- Whitney
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re: Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.#5
Posted: 10/26/04 at 10:38pm
I'm really starting to dislike the brooklyn/idina/wicked/everythingintheworld why do you hate/love it? Threads. If you want to know why someone hates a show, could you PM them and I'm sure they'll give a full detailed explanation!
JPB
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re: Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.#6
Posted: 10/26/04 at 10:40pm
if we post the bad it is only fair to post the good.
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re: Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.#7
Posted: 10/26/04 at 10:46pm
start off with a BkLYN post... ugghhh......
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re: Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.#9
Posted: 10/26/04 at 10:51pm
this was clearly a thinly veiled attempt to shill the board once again. they had to turn to of all things: "The Plain Dealer" for a half decent review of the show. talk about grasping at straws.

i was supposed to go see this but i've been sold my tickets. i have absolutely no desire to see it at all anymore.

Updated On: 10/26/04 at 10:51 PM
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re: Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.#10
Posted: 10/26/04 at 10:51pm
And we care because.. ?
Updated On: 10/26/04 at 10:51 PM
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re: Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.#11
Posted: 10/26/04 at 10:53pm
your damn right it's good for me! now go brainwash someone else
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re: Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.#12
Posted: 10/26/04 at 10:54pm
Tiny, I'm not surprised you posted a review--we get it--you LIKE BROOKLYN!
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re: Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.#13
Posted: 10/26/04 at 10:55pm
Okay i did not start this, but it's true,
You posted the negative reviews,
We'll post the positive reviews!
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re: Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.#14
Posted: 10/26/04 at 10:56pm
...yeah all 2 and a half of them.......LMAO
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re: Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.#15
Posted: 10/26/04 at 10:58pm
Who's we ?
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re: Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.#16
Posted: 10/26/04 at 10:58pm
okay.. no problem.. i'll post all of the positive reviews right now!
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re: Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.#18
Posted: 10/26/04 at 11:00pm
obviously doesn't have anything better to do.....

(i.e.: NO LIFE)

he can post the damned declaration of independence and toot the overture from gypsy from his whazoo..i still ain't going to see CRAPLYN so save your copy/paste function for something useful.
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re: Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.#19
Posted: 10/26/04 at 11:01pm
We ARE talking about The Cleveland Plain Dealer, are we not? Good grief.
Sueleen Gay: "Here you go, Bitch, now go make some fukcing lemonade." 10/28/10
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re: Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.#21
Posted: 10/26/04 at 11:04pm
what did i tell you..2, count 'em 2!

hahahahahahahahahahahahahaROTFLMAOhahahahahahahahahahaha

okay, that was enuff fun! i'm off this thread! re: Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.
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re: Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.#22
Posted: 10/26/04 at 11:04pm
Well I thought they both dragged but I thought Brooklyn felt it dragged more. MAN I needed an intermission in that thing.
And hang on, when did you win the discus?
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re: Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.#23
Posted: 10/26/04 at 11:29pm
Couldn't have an intermission...too much of a dilemma as to whether to come back.
Sueleen Gay: "Here you go, Bitch, now go make some fukcing lemonade." 10/28/10
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re: Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.#24
Posted: 10/26/04 at 11:55pm
Marquise - if you're still around - I must say I'm loving the new icon, though it is quite the change from your usual choices.

re: Brooklyn some hate and some love..why?.
Andrew, tonight isn't about you! It isn't even about me!!! - [FD]