Pity, rather than criticism, should be offered to Brooklyn: The Musical. Here, after all, is a work into which people have put enough love and effort to attract a smallish crowd of believers. It preaches, as it exemplifies, a thoroughly American moral about what individuals can achieve through hope and faith in themselves. That its story is dumb and factitious, its score a set of low-water recyclings, and its framework a hokey excuse for holding down the budget—such things don’t matter to those who truly believe. Unhappily, filling a Broadway-size house means that some of the rest of us have to sit there too, and our disbelief is less easily suspended.
The production proffers signs of devotion, too: Jeff Calhoun’s direction keeps everything moving nicely. Four excellent performers—Kevin Anderson, Cleavant Derricks, Eden Espinosa, and Ramona Keller—who fill the lead roles. I wish the latter two, who play rival pop divas, wouldn’t always screech their high notes, but that’s what pop divas do these days. When amplification is abolished, theater will be better, and Brooklyn will again be a borough instead of a pathetic little show.