A year into lockdown it has become clear that streamed performances have come up in strides when it comes to quality and creativity of the filming. BKLYN - The Musical is a fine example on this. Director Dean Johnson’s production blends cinema, theatre and concert into a striking performance. Fuelled with a powerful cast, the musical gives you goosebumps at the comfort of your sofa.
BKLYN - The Musical is written by Mark Schoenfeld and Barri McPherson and loosely tells the tale of a French girl (Emma Kingston) in search of her American father (Jamie Muscato). From the streets of Paris to Madison Square Garden, this is a tale about fame, eccentric characters, but above all the search for that missing piece that can heal our hearts.
The score ranges from club beats to soulful notes and allows the cast to truly show off their vocal skills. One of the highlights of the evening is when Kingston competes about how ‘Brooklyn’ she is with a native diva played brilliantly by Marisha Wallace, both serving their raw vocals with verve and passion. Whilst the score delivers many rousing numbers, the book glosses over its many big topics from the Vietnam War, suicide and drug issues, offering us only snapshots into these troubled lives. But like any fairytale, the musical finds its happy ending in more primal issues over fame, fortune and worldly issues: reconnecting with your family.
Johnson’s production blurs the line of live performance and cinema effectively, and together with editor Sam Diaz they create reality and fantasy with ease. The shortcomings of the book are still noticeable and can cause awkwardness with the high drama it portrays but Johnson’s cast is solid and they are able to make us overcome these minor notes with the sureness of their performance and magnificent vocals. In a bare warehouse, Andrew Exeter’s set and lighting springs up roses in an urban jungle. The set is made out of scrunched sheet music and news stories, and it perfectly captures the bloom of finding that missing piece of your story.
BKLYN - The Musical is a little diamond in the rough but shines in the hands of this very talented company.
Review: Jari Laakso Photo: Sam Diaz and Dean Johnson