It’s a big Broadway play in a little Brooklyn theater.
The Gallery Players are going out with a bang, continuing the troupe’s long-standing tradition of ending its season with a musical theater classic when it raises the curtains on Leonard Bernstein’s “Wonderful Town” on April 28.
“It’s interesting to see what a big, Broadway show looks like in a more intimate setting,” said the show’s producer Heather Curran.
More intimate indeed — the Gallery Players theater contains a mere 99-seats, ensuring each audience member a great view of the theater’s black box stage, which itself proved interesting challenge.
“Not only was it a Broadway show, but it was Broadway in the ’50s, which was quite different than it is today,” explained the show’s director, Mark Harborth. “They had a fly system, where the scenery flies up during scene changes, and that takes a matter of seconds. Working in gallery makes you very inventive as a designer — you don’t have the easy answers and you have to come up with creative ways to get things done.”
The play tells the story of two sisters from small-town Ohio, played by Molly Pope and Laurie Sutton, , who move into a ragged, basement in Greenwich Village, circa 1935 — a bohemian hot bed full of half-starved artists, desperate for fame.
In capturing the spirit and tone of the era, Harborth and his crew paid extra attention to the set, costume design, and choreography.
“A lot of people might not be familiar with the Greenwich Village of the times and we wanted to give them a feel for what it was like,” said Harborth. “The core of the play is about what was going on at that time, and we don’t want to get that wrong.”
Fans of cabaret should recognize Pope, a critically acclaimed star with an old school flare, whose solo shows have played Joe’s Pub, Ars Nova, The Laurie Beechman Theater and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in Australia.
“I think my natural old timey-ness and that I was born in the wrong era works in my favor,” said Pope. “I get the cultural references, and it feels like an escape for me. I get to feel, for two hours a night, like I’m a fully realized me.”
Gallery Players [199 14th St. between Fourth and Fifth avenues in Gowanus, (718) 832-0617] April 28, 8 pm. $18 ($12 for children under 12 and seniors). Visit www.galleryplayers.com.
Reach reporter Colin MIxson at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4514.