New Brooklyn Musical to World Premiere in Denver in Spring 2003

News   New Brooklyn Musical to World Premiere in Denver in Spring 2003
The Broadway-bound musical Brooklyn will world premiere at the Denver Civic Theatre this spring.

The theatre's official website says that the new musical by Mark Schoenfeld and Barri McPherson will reopen the theatre with April 30 previews prior to an official opening May 7.

Mitchell Maxwell, one of the musical's producers, told the Denver Post, "We are thrilled to bring this show to Denver, but it is just the tip of the iceberg. There are lots of high-quality shows by established artists that need a place to work out the kinks away from the hot, white glow of New York, and our facility in Denver is the perfect place to do that."

Renovations to the civic are ongoing prior to the first performance.

Brooklyn, boasting direction and choreography by Jeff Calhoun and musical direction/supervision by John McDaniel, will also play the Rich Forum in Stamford, CT, before arriving on Broadway in the fall. Eden Espinosa, who took part in the New York workshop of the musical, will head the cast in the title role.

* 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."

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