What kind of superhero does Brooklyn need? A subway speeder-upper? An affordable-housing magician? In Brooklynite, a new musical by Peter Lerman and Michael Mayer (Mayer also directs), six ordinary borough dwellers gain superpowers — fire, water, invisibility — when an asteroid crashes into the Gowanus Canal. This
delightful (though somewhat slight) piece traces the fallout
of the life-altering body’s descent to Earth.
Inspired by the real Park Slope Superhero Supply Company and featuring characters created by Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, Brooklynite picks up a decade after the crash landing of the asteroid (which consists of a mineral later dubbed Brooklynite). The superhumans have formed the Legion of Victory and made Brooklyn a safe, happy borough — and yet their leader, Astrolass (Nicolette Robinson), longs for an ordinary, non-super life. Meanwhile Trey Swieskowski (Matt Doyle), a hardware store clerk turned amateur chemist, dreams of synthesizing Brooklynite and becoming a superhero himself. While these two pursue their dreams, the weakest of the original heroes, Avenging Angelo (Nick Cordero) — his “gift” is detecting empty parking spots — starts scheming to amplify his own supernatural strength and put the borough under his sinister sway.
None of Brooklynite‘s events is especially surprising, and the piece sometimes feels like an extended, good-natured ad for Kings County. Still, under Mayer’s direction the excellent ensemble makes this fantasy Brooklyn an enjoyable escape on a wintry Manhattan day.