My Favourite Musicals – Brooklyn The Musical

As we’re all musical theatre fans around here, I’m going to post every so often about one of my favourite shows. This post is dedicated to one of my favourite musicals – Brooklyn.

Brooklyn the Musical opened on Broadway on October 21st 2004 and ran for 284 performances. The original Broadway cast featured Eden Espinosa as Brooklyn, Karen Olivo as Faith and Ramona Keller as Paradice. The Wikipedia synopsis says “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 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.”

The show was written by Mark Schoenfeld and Barri McPherson, who have a pretty interesting story behind them as well. Schoenfeld and McPherson had collaborated on a record more than two decades earlier but lost touch until the latter, now a Massachusetts housewife, encountered her former partner singing on a Brooklyn street corner as a means of support. She invited him home to live with her and her family, and the two began to write songs based on Schoenfeld’s experiences they eventually worked into a plot boasting elements of Annie, Madame Butterfly, Movin’ Out, Rent, and every fairy tale that ever ended happily ever after.

Brooklyn has been one of my favourite musicals since I first heard the cast recording around five years ago. Not only did it introduce me to the fantastic Eden Espinosa, but it also gave me a fantastic group of songs that you just don’t hear enough. My personal favourite is the kind of ‘mascot’ song of the show, “Once Upon A Time”. The video below shows Eden singing this fantastic song.

 

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