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Broadway 101

Hey, kids, let’s put on a show.

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The cast of Peter Pan.  

Everywhere else in the country, classic Broadway musicals are staples of small community theater, which work well as intro-to-theater stepping-stones for fidgety little theatergoers. Here, the smaller houses go for child-unfriendly experimental fare. But one company is making a go of the small-town form at a Park Slope church. Phill Greenland, founder of Brooklyn Family Theatre, says that though it took a couple of years to get going—his first productions, of Godspell and The Pirates of Penzance, put him $15,000 in the hole—his company now draws a near-sellout crowd of local parents and their offspring, with easy-to-love successes like The Wiz and Bye, Bye Birdie. (The show that helped them turn the corner into profitability? “Annie’s the holy grail, man,” he says.) On October 27, BFT will open Peter Pan, with a cast of fourteen volunteer actors, $12 tickets, and attention placed on the story in lieu of those pricey special effects. “It will be a moodier production,” he says. “We’re drawing out the serious moments a little bit more, like when Wendy gets the idea of being the boys’ mother.” On Broadway in recent years, Tinker Bell was a laser beam; here, she’s a ray from a plain old lightbulb, reflected through a mirror. “I read that in the original production with Mary Martin, they used this technique,” Greenland says. “The laser light is a little too fancy for us.”

10/27–11/19; Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 7 p.m., Sundays at 5 p.m. (no show on 11/18); Brooklyn Family Theatre, Church of Gethsemane, 1012 Eighth Ave., at 10th St. (718-989-2449 or brooklynfamilytheatre.com); $12.


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