It has been confirmed that the Mark Schoenfeld and Barri McPherson musical will begin its Broadway run Sept. 23 with an official opening Oct. 21. Producers Four, which recently produced the short-lived drama Sixteen Wounded, will produce the musical about the journey of a Parisian songstress.
As previously reported, Jeff Calhoun, the director and choreographer of the Denver production, will handle the same duties on Broadway with musical supervision by Taboo's John McDaniel. "I think the reason we will do well on Broadway," Calhoun recently told the Denver Post, "is that we have music that is pertinent for today and has its finger on the pulse of young people. And that is going to encourage a lot of younger audiences to come to the theatre."
Eden Espinosa, who is currently playing Elphaba in Wicked (Tony winner Idina Menzel is in the midst of filming "Ask the Dust" but will return to the Stephen Schwartz-Winnie Holzman musical July 3), will head the cast. The Denver company also included Lee Morgan, David Jennings, Ramona Keller and Karen Olivo.
According to production notes, Brooklyn concerns "a band of soulful street-corner singers and storytellers. With a mix of pop and soul, they set their stage and tell a wondrous sidewalk fairytale about a young girl from Paris whose search for the father she never knew lands her in America, in the city that bears her name, Brooklyn."
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In an earlier PBOL interview, Jeff 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."