Theater is not a new feature of the Atlantic Yards development. But this time it's intentional! The Brooklyn megaproject now has its own musical, "In the Footprint," from activist theater company The Civilians, whose members conducted interviews with the major players in the Atlantic Yards drama to create the monologues that make up most of the show.
We scored tickets to the show's opening last night, and though we're no theater critics, that's not gonna stop us from having thoughts about what we saw and writing them down. Here now, our 10 favorite things about the musical (or "play with music," as the press materials call it) playing through December 11 at Brooklyn's Irondale Center.
10) The show opens with one of the actors asking an audience member to define eminent domain. Hands shot up.
9) Like many a Curbed commenter, the residents of the footprint are no big fans of Downtown Brooklyn as a neighborhood name.
8) In fact, former Brooklyn borough presidential candidate Ken Fisher prefers to define Brooklyn's neighborhoods?in song!? as Manhattan, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and Florida. Hear him do so.
7) Of all the show's "blogosongs," the name the show's creators gave the musical numbers, the most entertaining is perhaps the much-discussed ULURP song. We pity the songwriters who had to work "Uniform Land Use Review Procedure" and "Empire State Development Corporation" into song lyrics.
6) The smooch is included.
5) One of the locals whose interview makes it into the show is Jonathan Lethem. He says of the letter he wrote to Frank Gehry in criticism of the project, "I wrote things that, if taken to heart, would make the project shrivel up and die." Who says art is powerless?! Maybe Frank Gehry just doesn't have a heart.
4) Gehry's original design for the arena is represented on stage by a glittery disco ball.
3) The trucker hat-wearing basketball that plays Marty Markowitz actually represents the Beep pretty well.
2) The show, which includes a gentrification song called "Pardon the Crackers," is being performed on a Fort Greene block that has a sushi joint on the corner.
1) This isn't the last Atlantic Yards musical. This one was based on interviews, but playwright Lynn Nottage and composer Kirsten Childs have already been commissioned for a fictional version. Look out for it in 2012.