Broadway-Bound Musical, Brooklyn, Opens May 7 in Denver

News   Broadway-Bound Musical, Brooklyn, Opens May 7 in Denver Brooklyn, the Broadway-bound musical by Mark Schoenfeld and Barri McPherson, officially opens at The New Denver Civic Theatre May 7.

Previews began April 30 for the new musical, which stars Eden Espinosa in the title role, Mark Deklin, David Jennings, Ramona Keller and Karen Olivo. The limited engagement runs through June 15.

Directed and choreographed by Jeff Calhoun, the creative team comprises Ray Klausen (scenic designer), Tobin Ost (costume designer/associate scenic designer), Michael Gilliam (lighting designer), Jonathan Deans (sound designer), Coy Middlebrook (associate director), Patti D’Beck (associate choreographer), John Miller (music coordinator) and Victor Simonson (music director). John McDaniel — of “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” fame — serves as Brooklyn’s music supervisor and arranger, and a CD of the original Denver company is currently in the works.

Brooklyn is being presented at The New Denver Civic Theatre in arrangement with Mitchell Maxwell, John McDaniel, Victoria Maxwell, City Weeds Productions, Sibling Entertainment, Inc., Scott Pris and Stephen Leiter. Tickets are available by calling (800) 325-SEAT or by logging on to www.ticketswest.com.

Eden Espinosa starred in the title role in the workshop production of Brooklyn and recently made a guest appearance during John McDaniel’s nightclub performance at Joe’s Pub. Mark Deklin portrayed Scar in Broadway’s The Lion King and was also part of the cast of Sweet Smell of Success. David Jennings was nominated for an Ovation Award for his performance as Jake in the West Coast premiere of Side Show and also appeared in the Broadway revival of Once Upon a Mattress. Ramona Keller co-starred in the recent production of Dreamgirls — with Jennifer Holliday — at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre, and Karen Olivo starred as Mimi in Broadway’s Rent.

The New Denver Civic Theatre is located on the web at www.denvercivic.com. *

Best known for his direction and Tony-nominated choreography for the hit 1994 revival of Grease!, Jeff Calhoun also collaborated with Tommy Tune on The Will Rogers Follies and The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public. He made his Broadway directorial debut with Tommy Tune Tonite! and choreographed the Faith Prince revival of Bells Are Ringing. In an earlier PBOL interview, Calhoun discussed his love for Brooklyn. "I really believe I've been waiting and training my whole life for this project," he said. "It is that amazing mix of commerce with high artistry, and it's hard to find something that can deliver both."

Calhoun explained that the piece was initially brought to him by Paula Holt, who was the president and artistic director of Los Angeles' Tiffany Theatres. "It's written by this amazing man [Mark Schoenfeld] who was homeless, who survived on the kindness of strangers. That inspired him to write this story, and it's written from a homeless point of view about the homeless. [Schoenfeld] wrote everything — book, music and lyrics — [with his writing partner Barri McPherson]." Described as a morality tale of a "beautiful, young Parisian songstress, whose fame and fortune could not fill the emptiness of her soul," the new musical is set in Brooklyn, New York, and will transport audiences from the New York City borough to Paris and back.

An eclectic mix of soul and pop music with a bit of classic American tunes and opera thrown into the stew, Brooklyn possesses "the best score I've heard since Dreamgirls," Calhoun said. "It's a remarkable score, and I love when shows feel like they have their finger on the pulse of what's happening. I love the music of yesteryear, I really do, but I also like it when [there is music] you could actually listen to in your apartment and not have to be in the business to enjoy. I would love kids who do not live in New York and are not interested into going into show business to want to listen to this at home in their rooms. The music is just incredibly accessible. Certainly, my generation is going to love it, and I think younger people as well."