Giving Broadway a run for its money

Cut footloose: The Brooklyn Theater Arts High School presented its rendition of “Footloose” in its newly renovated auditorium on May 2.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Let’s hear it for the boy!

Borough President Markowitz cut the ribbon for the opening of Brooklyn Theater Arts High School’s newly renovated auditorium on May 2 — giving its budding thespians a forum where their expertly timed lines can actually be heard — then joined teens on a rousing rendition of “Footloose” that everyone could happily hear.

“You can actually understand what they’re saying,” exclaimed Steve Sunderlin, the artistic director at Theater Arts High, which used to be South Shore High School. “It’s just night and day.”

The no-longer dilapidated theater, which once suffered from numerous acoustic and technical ailments — including poor lighting and a non-existent sound system — received $750,000 from the borough president’s office, and can now compete with the best of off-Broadway venues.

“It sounds excellent, it’s amazing. It used to be that you couldn’t hear a thing. The acoustics were so bad, everything was bouncing all over the place,” said Sunderlin.

“Now, these kids have a facility that’s as good as any off-Broadway theater, and they can leave the school and get a great internship because of the experience they’re getting here, on stage and off,” he said.

Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the school bussed in hundreds of borough middle-school students to fill the audience for the renovated theater’s inaugural production, “Footloose,” where Brooklyn Theater Arts’ students danced and sang in praise of rock ‘n’ roll.

But the best part was that every line came through crisp and clear, Sunderlin said.

“It’s a terrific production and it went great,” he said.

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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