A budget ‘Babes’ at the Brick

for The Brooklyn Paper
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If you call this performance “poor,” you’d be right.

Little Lord Theater Company is staging 108-year-old musical extravaganza, “Babes in Toyland,” which calls for 24 actors, elaborate sets, and dozens of extravagant costumes, as a “recession extravagan­za,” at the Brick Theater.

“We’re putting on a spectacular!” said director Michael Levinton, whose play premieres on Nov. 30. “With the lowest means.”

“Babes in Toyland” follows two orphans who run away from their wicked uncle, and find themselves lost in the titular land. Along the way, they meet Mother Goose, Little Bo Peep, and Little Red Riding Hood. But Toyland isn’t all sunshine and lollipops — it’s littered with demon-posessed dolls and evil toy makers.

The play’s dreamy setting typically necessitates multiple backdrops, but Levinton’s re-imagining of the Christmas classic was acheived with a budget of just $10,000 — one-tenth of the average musical production.

“Most of our set is made out of cardboard,” Levinton said. “The treetops are nothing more than a couple of sticks.”

Bare bones, yes, but earning raves from critics at the New York Times and New York Magazine.

“It’s so fun, because it becomes less about the story, and more about five desperate actors trying to play several dozen characters,” Levinton said. “It’s absurd.”

“Babes in Toyland” at the Brick Theater [575 Metropolitan Ave. between Union Avenue and Lorimer Street in Williamsburg, (718) 907-6189], Nov. 30-Dec.10, 8 pm. Tickets, $18. For info, visit

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