Brooklyn (musical)

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Brooklyn the Musical
Broadway Playbill cover
MusicMark Schoenfeld
Barri McPherson
LyricsMark Schoenfeld
Barri McPherson
BookMark Schoenfeld
Barri McPherson
Productions2004 Broadway
2006 United States tour

Brooklyn the Musical is a musical with a book, lyrics, and music by Mark Schoenfeld and Barri McPherson.[1]


Using the play within a play structure, Brooklyn focuses on a group of five ragtag homeless musicians known as the City Weeds. The group periodically transforms a street corner under the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge into a stage where they present their play about a Parisian singer Brooklyn, named after the New York City borough from which her wayward father Taylor hailed. Orphaned when her depressed mother Faith hangs herself, the girl in quick succession is sent to live in a convent where she discovers her vocal talents, becomes a star, performs at Carnegie Hall, sets out in search of her father (who she discovers is a drug-addicted Vietnam War vet), and engages in a competition with local diva Paradice at Madison Square Garden.

From the original Broadway souvenir program:[citation needed]

Once upon a time, a famous young Parisian came to America to search for the Father she never knew. Her only clue, her name.... Brooklyn. The "Reigning Diva of the Decade", Ms. Paradice is threatened by Brooklyn's new-found fame. She challenges Brooklyn to a "Battle Of The Divas" at Madison Square Garden. Brooklyn accepts to deliver the Father she has yet to find. Feeling the soul of the city that bears her name, Brooklyn is moved by a street performer who plays a rusty old crowbar as if it were a Golden Saxophone. The Streetsinger leads Brooklyn to her father. She learns the truth of who he is and where he's been. Although our "Wicked Witch Of The Hood" Ms. Paradice is about to wreak havoc with our heroine and her father, she doesn't mind if you love to hate her, because after all that's still love. Moments before showtime, the wicked Ms. Paradice confronts Brooklyn's Father she comes bearing gifts. The "Battle Of The Divas" begins. Ms. Paradice takes the stage. She warns America not to turn its back on her now or they call "Kiss My Black Ass!" Brooklyn finds herself center stage, abandoned by her Father. The crowd roared, the vote's poured in. Paradice Won! Brooklyn was just another face in the crowd. However, in that crowd was another face. "So you gotta ask yourself, do you believe in happy endings?"


Schoenfeld and McPherson had collaborated on a record more than two decades earlier but lost touch until McPherson, now a Massachusetts housewife, encountered her former partner singing on a Brooklyn street corner as a means of support. She invited him to live with her and her family, and the two began to write songs based on Schoenfeld's experiences. They eventually wrote the plot with elements of Annie, Madame Butterfly, Movin' Out, Rent, and every fairy tale that ever ended happily ever after.[2][3]

The musical's stage premiere was on April 30, 2003 at the New Denver Civic Theater (Denver, CO) and ran through June 15, 2003. This production starred Eden Espinosa. [4]

The musical premiered on Broadway on October 21, 2004 at the Plymouth Theatre (renamed the Gerald Schoenfeld), and closed on June 26, 2005 after 284 performances and 27 previews. Directed by Jeff Calhoun, The cast included Eden Espinosa as Brooklyn, Karen Olivo as Faith, Kevin Anderson as Taylor, Ramona Keller as Paradice, and Cleavant Derricks as a street singer who acts as the narrator. [5][6][3]

National tour and other productions[edit]

A 2006 national tour starred American Idol finalist Diana DeGarmo as Brooklyn and Melba Moore as Paradice. Cleavant Derricks reprised his performance as Street Singer, with original cast member Julie Reiber as Faith, and Lee Morgan as Taylor Collins.[7]

In 2008 Brooklyn made its professional regional premiere at Wisconsin's The Armory located in Janesville, WI. The limited engagement, arranged through Brooklyn's original producers, ran from May 8 to June 1, 2008. The Armory production featured Elyssa Samsel in the title role with John Edwards (Street Singer), Brett J. Frazier (Taylor Collins), Chelsea Waller (Paradice) and Julie Marie Eberhart (Faith). This production also added two more voices and featured Don Seward and Amy Linden in the ensemble.

Baldwin Wallace College was granted the rights to put on a regional production in Berea, Ohio in April 2008. It played at Playhouse Square's 14th Street Theatre in May 2008.

A Brazilian production is previewed to June, 2012 in São Paulo.

Cast recording[edit]

A cast album recorded live during a performance before an invited audience [2] was released on the Razor & Tie label.

Songs and scenes[edit]


  1. ^ [1] Talkin'
  2. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Life of Brooklyn Creator Mark Schoenfeld to Be Explored in New Musical" Playbill, August 1, 2005
  3. ^ a b Sommer, Elyse. "Review. 'Brooklyn, the Musical'", October 22, 2004
  4. ^
  5. ^ Brantley, Ben. "Theater Review. Excuse Me, Got Any Spare Fame?" The New York Times, October 22, 2004
  6. ^ Simon, John. "Reviews. Lullaby of Brooklyn" New York Magazine, accessed August 19, 2016
  7. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Diana DeGarmo and Melba Moore to Head Cast of 'Brooklyn' Tour" Playbill, January 6, 2006

External links[edit]