Bar back: Play looks at the history of Farrell’s

Bar back: Play looks at the history of Farrell’s
Jay Cusato

It’s a new play about old-school Brooklyn!

A drama about the changing Windsor Terrace neighborhood, set in the legendary Farrell’s Bar and Grill, will get a pair of readings this weekend at the Shepherd’s Hall at the Holy Name Church — just a block away from its boozy setting. “Stoopdreamer,” written by Windsor Terrace native Pat Fenton, focuses on gentrification and the effects of the Prospect Parkway, which tore through the neighborhood during the 1940s, and the show’s producer hopes that it will help educate locals about their history.

“For people who just moved here it’ll be a great way to learn the history of the neighborhood,” said Jay Cusato, who grew up in Park Slope and now lives in Sunset Park. “And for others, it’ll be a walk down memory lane.”

At the reading, Cusato will also discuss his plans for an upcoming documentary about Farrell’s crucial place in this area’s rich history.

“Stoopdreamer” focuses on the massive road construction project decreed by Robert Moses in 1945, which displaced more than a thousand families from Windsor Terrace. In the play, three people gather at modern-day Farrell’s, 70 years after the construction, to reminisce about the neighborhood they once knew.

The play is set at Farrell’s because it is the last bar standing from the pre-Moses era. The iconic Irish pub is a prominent piece of the old Brooklyn neighborhood, which makes it a worthy subject of the play and of a film, said Cusato.

“The documentary asks the question ‘Why did Farrell’s stand the test of time?’ ” said Cusato. “It’s basically the same bar as it was in the 1930s.”

Proceeds from the event will go to Holy Name Church, which is what past bar owner Eddie Farrell would have wanted, according to Cusato.

“Eddie Farrell was really into fund-raising,” he said.

Farrell’s current owner, Jimmy Houlihan, assisted with planning the event, and the cast includes both on and off-Broadway actors, Cusato said.

Cusato hopes some of the people who attend the play will be able to talk about Farrell’s history for his documentary.

“We hope to attract people not on social media,” he said. “People who were there. I hope this brings people out.”

“Stoopdreamer” at Shepherd’s Hall [245 Prospect Park West at Ninth Avenue in Windsor Terrace, (718) 768–3071]. Jan. 13 at 8 pm; Jan. 14 at 3 pm. $30.

Reach reporter Adam Lucente at alucente@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_Lucente.
Ready for action: The cast of “Stoopdreamer” performs at a dress rehearsal at Shepherd’s Hall before the Jan. 13 and 14 reading.
Jay Cusato