Photo by Don Kellogg

Saturday, February 28, 2015


There's a little slice of Brooklyn invading Manhattan at the Vineyard Theatre near Union Square in Manhattan.  Fear not.  The invasion is merely a riff on chemistry, superheroes and saving the world.  (Spoiler Alert:  Brooklyn survives).

It's an energetic, endearing, engaging, and enthusiastic undertaking by Michael Mayer and Peter Lerman.  Serious, not a chance.  Lively, funny, silly - all that and more.  Steven Hoggett's choreography  keeps the performers on their toes and moving all over the stage from beginning to end.  Mr. Mayer's additional role of director makes much sense.  He tells us his story, his way.

Helming the production is the deliciously nerdy and uber-talented Matt Doyle (Trey Swieskowski).  Supporting him are the suave and handsome Andrew Call (el Fuego) and the hunky Gerard Canonico (Kid Comet).  Stunning beauties Nicolette Robinson (Astrolass) and Grace McLean (Blue Nixie) both showcase their star powers and both blow the roof off the theater nightly.   Rounding out the cast is the stalwart Ann Harada (Professor Whitman) and powerhouse "goomba" Nick Cordero (Avenging Angelo).

There are plenty of riffs on Brooklyn - perhaps a few too many given the fact that nobody outside NYC would even know what the jokes mean (read a tour or regional theater is not in the cards for this one).  El Fuego awkwardly even says "I put the wick in Bushwick". (get it?  he's a flame and he's talking about a candle....ok).   The show runs 2 hours which isn't too bad, but I'd say maybe another 10-15 minutes could be shaved off the show to punch it up to the max.  Maybe cutting one too many of the ballads might work in this area.

It's not too easy to make a silly show based on superheroes work but this team has, at least the best they can given the subject matter.  In the end it's a love story,  a comic book like caper,  and a save-the-world story all rolled up in one.   For an off-Broadway, Not-For-Profit theater it's a bit of a coup to get such heavy talent to don capes and tights for 2 hours 8 shows a week (seeing Andrew Call in them and ripping open is shirt was worth the price of admission alone).  But he heart and soul of this show is inherently good and audiences will ultimately appreciate it - if not love and rave about it.  After all - saving Brooklyn is high on everyone's list - right?