You don’t sound traumatized, so what’s the fascination with Crossing Brooklyn?
I didn’t cry or get terrified on September 11th. It was sad -- but it didn’t directly impact me. Then when I saw The Transport Group’s production [directed by Jack Cummings III], it was the first time I dealt with it. The show made me cry and have the catharsis that I needed as an American. Instead of constantly having 9-11 shoved down your throat, instead of constantly having a painting of the “Steel Cross” in your face, there was distance. I thought, “Wow!” This is so…simple.
What do you mean?
This is not 9-11, the Musical. This is a world affected by 9-11, but people who are moving on. The show has this hope that you wouldn’t expect from a musical about this subject. Seven people take the stage, a chorus of everyday New Yorkers. The second you hear the subway song (“Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”), it sounds like the subway. The second you hear “First Grade Teacher,” it sounds like something out of an elementary school. Everything sounds like and looks like exactly what they’re talking about. The show is totally barebones, because you don’t need anything else to tell the story.
If someone saw the Transport Group production, should s/he come see this production?
Yes, it’s a different show. Characters have been cut, music has been altered, and the script has changed. The journey that Des takes is different. The Transport Group’s production was a beautiful. It stopped your heart, but back then the script was lacking a lot of hope. Des didn’t have much of a sense of humor. This version I see a Des who is so much more approachable for the audience. The first notes of Crossing Brooklyn are not notes of anxiety, or dread or fear, but of celebration because they are sounding out the fact that we’re able to move on. We’re able to grow and that’s what Des does. She’s a symbol of New York.
Performances begin on Thursday, January 27th at 8:00pm at The Michael Chekhov Theater @ The 45th Street Theatre at 354 West 45th Street, 2nd Floor. The subsequent evening performances are Friday and Saturday, along with a 2:00pm matinee on both Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $18.00 and are available online now at http://beautifulsoup.showclix.com/. A portion of box-office proceeds will benefit A-STEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty), founded by Tony Award-winning musical director and orchestrator Mary-Mitchell Campbell (Crossing Brooklyn, Company, next to normal, The Addams Family). A special educational matinee will be presented on Thursday the 27th at 11:00am.
For information about this week’s production of Crossing Brooklyn, visit beautifulsoup.showclix.com
To learn more about the Beautiful Soup Theater Collective, see www.beautifulsouptheatercollective.org
-- COURT STROUD
Previously > Need To Know: The Shondes