The borough of Brooklyn takes center stage in a new musical inspired by the real Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company in Park Slope. Roma Torre filed this review of Vineyard Theatre's production of "Brooklynite."
Depending on your taste for tongue-in-cheek musicals, “Brooklynite” is either a rollicking diversion or a holy mess. With direction by Michael Mayer who also co-wrote the book alongside composer Peter Lerman, like it or not, this thin comic book parody is getting a dynamite production.
Set entirely in Brooklyn, of course, it's the not-too-distant future and the story follows hardware store clerk Trey Swieskowski, a science whiz and wannabe superhero. That is not so far-fetched as you'd think because we discover that ten years earlier, an asteroid crashed in Gowanus, creating a substance called Brooklynite, which gave six young people superpowers. There is El Fuego, Blu Nixie, Kid Comet, Avenging Angelo, Captain Clear and their leader Astrolass.
Through a series of hokey plot turns, Avenging Angelo, whose only power is locating parking spots, turns into the villain vowing to destroy Brooklyn; and the Legion of Victory, as our heroes call themselves, unite with Trey's help to save the day.
No real need for a spoiler alert because the story is the least of the show's charms. Peter Lerman's songs - capturing the show's hipster, goofball humor and his tuneful ballads - are loads of fun. And Michael Mayer and choreographer Steven Hoggett provide plenty of polish, selling material that probably wouldn't fly in lesser hands.
The cast is first rate with veterans Ann Harada and Tom Alan Robbins doing their zany thing. Matt Doyle is a huge asset managing the comedy and occasional sentiment with aplomb. In addition, Nick Cordero, so great in “Bullets Over Broadway,” fires on all cylinders here, converting hopeless clichés into legitimate laughs.
Like the borough itself, “Brooklynite” is big, boisterous and brash. But even with all that talent, it could still use more theatrical fire-power to be truly super.