This world premiere marks Roundabout’s second collaboration with Meghan Kennedy. Like so many of the playwrights whose work has come to the Pels in recent years, Meghan started with us in the Roundabout Underground program, where her play Too Much, Too Much, Too Many debuted in 2013. That piece announced the arrival of a stunning new voice – one filled with poeticism, emotional depth, and utter fearlessness. We knew that Meghan was an artist with boundless potential, and I think it’s clear that she’s taken an exciting leap into new territory with this latest play.
With Napoli, Brooklyn, Meghan has chosen to explore a story inspired by her own family history, set in 1960, well before this young talent was born. But that distance from the world her play explores has allowed her to view it through a theatrical lens that elevates the events beyond the tropes of family drama. It has also given her room for deep empathy, imbuing every character on her canvas with a full life and perspective of their own, often in ways that shake us out of our assumptions.
This is a play placed at the cusp of a changing America. In so many ways, 1960 is a wildly different time from what would become “The Sixties” as we think about that decade today, but Meghan allows us to look at that moment through the eyes of young women desperately searching towards a future they didn’t yet know could be theirs. And with a major historic event at its center that quite literally rocks a quiet neighborhood into a new phase, Napoli, Brooklyn throws us into a moment in which possibilities were opening up in newly thrilling and terrifying ways.
It’s a story of immigrants finding their identities and coming to a new understanding of what “home” truly means. It’s a story of unlikely alliances forming in the face of pain and loneliness. And it’s a story of women taking risks that will come to define a generation.
Napoli, Brooklyn is a deeply sensitive, emotionally raw play that will leave you talking (and very likely craving some good Italian food!). I am so thrilled by Meghan’s work, and I can’t wait to share it with you. As you have all season, please continue to email me at email@example.com. I can’t tell you how greatly I value your feedback.
I look forward to seeing you at the theatre!
2016-2017 Season, From Todd Haimes, Napoli Brooklyn