Theater Review | ‘In the Footprint’
A Brooklyn Civics Lesson, Offered in Word and Song
Published: November 23, 2010
As subjects for musical comedy go, it would be hard to fathom anything less promising than the legal intricacies of the concept of eminent domain. Or, for that matter, the socioeconomic diversity of the crazy quilt of Brooklyn neighborhoods. The great Stephen Sondheim himself might find it tricky work to make lyrical magic of the relationships among the various civic entities charged with approving land-use deals in New York City.
Michael Nagle for The New York Times
From left, Greg McFadden, Billy Eugene Jones and Colleen Werthmann of the Civilians. Yet these matters are rhapsodized in song with style and wit in the spirited new show from the Civilians, “In the Footprint: The Battle Over Atlantic Yards,” which opened on Monday night at the Irondale Arts Center in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, within a demolition ball’s swing of the site in contention.
The title may sound like a dissertation submitted by a budding sociologist — subtitles are not too inviting on a theater marquee — but don’t let that deter you. This simple, scruffy-looking but smartly put-together production, written and directed by Steve Cosson and featuring songs by Michael Friedman (“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”), is as fresh, inventive and frankly as entertaining as any new work of musical theater to open this fall. (No, this isn’t saying all that much, but never mind.)