By Tulis McCall
Brooklynite, now playing at the Vineyard Theater is, well, adorable. I don’t think I have ever used that word when describing a show before. Brooklynite is exactly what it intends to be: the story of six caped crusaders and two star crossed lovers who want to save the world. Or five caped crusaders. Or four crusaders and one meanie.
Ten years ago, According to the Mayoe (not the borough president) of Brooklyn (Tom Alan Robins) an asteroid slammed down and transformed ordinary humans into the Legion of Victory: 1) a short order cook from Bay Ridge was transformed into the master of fire – El Fuego (Andrew Call); 2) a marine biologist at the Brighton Beach Aquarium… the sassy siren of the seas – Blue Nixie (Grace McLean); 3) a messenger from DUMBO… was transmutated into the fastest man alive! – Kid Comet (Gerard Canonico); 4) Captain Clear toiled as a faceless file clerk in the city archives before turning completely invisible (Insert invisible actor’s name here); 5) The asteroid gave an unemployed gamer from Bensonhurst a seriously enviable talent (finding empty parking spots) – Avenging Angelo (Nick Cordero – the highlight of Bullets Over Broadway); 6) An honor student from Prospect Heights Middle School …. Brooklyn’s most powerful superhero – Astrolass (Nicolette Robinson).
AND then there is Trey. Trey runs his dead parents hardware store – based on the real Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. His neighbors buy his goods even if the don’t need them just to keep him in business. On the side he is a slightly mad scientist working on creating a formula for the Gowanus Effect that will provide Super Power to those who need it.
While Trey is seeking Super-Hero-Dome – Astrolass is seeking anonymity. She has been the leader of the Legion for ten years and is longing for comfortable clothes and a quiet life. She makes the bold move of quitting the Legion, and this causes havoc among the troops. When Angelo is not selected as the new leader he turns rogue, and the game is on. Meanwhile Astrolass has changed to Astrid Smith Jones and taken a job as an assistant assistant associate at the Save The World Foundatioin where she discovers Trey’s application for a grant to make his Gowanus formula “Brooklynite”. She sees her replacement. He sees his dream coming true.
Brooklyn, meanwhile, goes to the dogs. The Legioin is malfunctioning left anad right. Once Trey completes the Brooklynite, Angelo steals his paperwork. The scheduled time of transformation is 6:17 and the countdown begins.
There is a lot of musical singing, dancing and sturm and drang – but *WHEW* everything turns out okay. These are terrific performers who never drop the ball. Watching them is a complete pleasure. The ensemble of 7 makes you believe there are 70 onstage. And the Musicians kick some serious butt under the leadership of conductor Kimberly Grigsby.
Grab a little child wonder-dust and get on over to see this gem.
Brooklynite – Book by Michael Mayer and Peter Lerman; music and lyrics/orchestrations by Mr. Lerman, based on characters created by Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman; directed by Mr. Mayer
WITH: Andrew Call (El Fuego), Gerard Canonico (Kid Comet), Max Chernin (Marcus/Others), Nick Choksi (Sunil/Others), Nick Cordero (Avenging Angelo), Matt Doyle (Trey Swieskowski), Carla Duren (Paula/Others), Ann Harada (Professor Whitman/Others), John-Michael Lyles (Herbert/Others), Grace McLean (Blue Nixie), Tom Alan Robbins (Mayor/Others), Nicolette Robinson (Astrolass) and Remy Zaken (Mallory/Others).
Choreography by Steven Hoggett; music director, Kimberly Grigsby; sets by Donyale Werle; costumes by Andrea Lauer; lighting by Kevin Adams; sound by Kai Harada; projections and video by Andrew Lazarow; production stage manager, Lisa Iacucci; associate director, Johanna McKeon; production manager, Adrian White; general manager, DR Theatrical Management. Presented by Vineyard Theater, Douglas Aibel and Sarah Stern, artistic directors; Jennifer Garvey-Blackwell, executive producer. At the Vineyard Theater, 108 East 15th Street, Manhattan; 212-353-0303, vineyardtheatre.org. Through March 22. Running time: 2 hours.