The bottom line
Seattle Children's Theatre's Brooklyn Bridge is a poignant, humorous play about the importance of community and building connections both between cities and people. Seattle Children's Theatre recommends this play for ages 9 and older, but slightly older children may gain the most from the play.
Written by award-winning Canadian playwright Melissa James Gibson (who has written for TV shows such as The Americans and House of Cards), Brooklyn Bridge is a co-production of Seattle Children’s Theatre (SCT) and the University of Washington drama department.
As is typical for SCT, the set of this production is inventive and fun: Three levels represent an apartment building, including stairs, doors and windows, but no walls. It gives audience members the sense of opening the front of a building and peeking in on each apartment.
The main character, fifth grader Sasha (movingly played by Analeise Emerson Guettinger), is a latchkey kid who is home alone at night while her mom works. Because her mother has repeatedly warned her against going outside or talking to strangers, Sasha is lonely and frightened of the world outside of her apartment.
But she has a dilemma: A report on the Brooklyn Bridge is due the next day, and if she doesn’t turn it in, she might be kept back in the fifth grade. She’s completed research, but she can’t quite figure out which parts of the report are important enough to write down. Plus, she’s lost her only pen.
When Sasha ventures timidly out of her home to borrow a pen, she meets her neighbors for the first time. As the people in her building come and go throughout the evening, she interacts humorously with members of the diverse group, such as Rudy Roushdi, who plays a dental student from the West Indies with a lilting accent and lots of dental jokes, and a woman who Sasha previously thought was a giant (turns out she just likes to stomp).
Serendipitously, she also meets a 99-year-old man in a wheelchair (hilariously played by David Pichette, who is nowhere near 99 years old!), who, it turns out, is a Brooklyn Bridge buff. Slowly, Sasha figures out pieces of her report, while piecing together her new, not-so-scary community.
We enjoyed all of the wonderful layers in this play: community, connections, cultural identity, diversity and the fact that it takes a village to raise a child.
Age recommendation for Brooklyn Bridge
Seattle Chidren's Theatre recommends this play for ages 9 and up. Depending on your child's interest and maturity, the play might be a better fit for slightly older children. I brought my 8-year-old, and most of the deeper themes of the story went over his head. He enjoyed the humor but was constantly asking me to explain words and jokes he didn’t understand. Older kids will enjoy the play and gain a lot from the production.
If you go ...
Where: Seattle Children's Theatre's Charlotte Martin Theatre is located at the west end of the Seattle Center at 201 Thomas St., Seattle
Tickets: Brooklyn Bridge plays through March 20. Buy tickets online.
Parking: There are four paid parking lots within blocks of Seattle Center, check here for directions: It is always a good idea to arrive early, as there are always lots of events going on at the busy Seattle Center.
Tips: Be sure and bring your camera and a pen. As with all SCT productions, the actors stay after the show to interact with guests and give autographs. The theater is located close to Seattle Center Armory, which has 20 food vendors, and you can find many restaurants in the nearby Lower Queen Anne.