In truly corny terms, Brooklyn, The Musical is a small show with a big heart. It could also be called "The Little Show That Tried Too Hard." With a cast of just five people, it's the story of a girl named Brooklyn who hits the big time as a one-hit-wonder while searching for her father. There's nothing really compelling about the story, the characters, or the music. It does try to gain the audience's sympathy with the modern Horatio Alger-type story, the street-smart narrator, and the affecting "Unfinished Lullaby," but the show has no subtlety in its music or characters or text. Most of the songs are in an R&B style that shows off the vocal skills of the main characters. Electric keyboards and guitars dominate the instrumental ensemble and make for cheesy-sounding accompaniment, à la Little Shop of Horrors, at times when the songs seem to want a grander accompaniment. Paradice, the rival of the main character, is performed by Ramona Keller, who revels in the attitude and brazenness expected of a pop music diva. Paradice preaches about the hypocrisies of American society, and this can be followed in the enclosed libretto, although it's hard to find since the track numbers are not marked in the text. Eden Espinosa, as Brooklyn, sings just as strongly as Keller; however, in the duel between Brooklyn and Paradice, she takes on an R&B persona that seems disconnected from her character earlier in the play and from her spoken parts. Despite its efforts and those of its cast, Brooklyn, The Musical is not distinguished enough in any way to make it a lasting hit.
Brooklyn: The Musical (Original Broadway Cast) Review
by Patsy Morita