Review: ‘Liberty, a Monumental New Musical’ teaches a history and human rights lesson to the entire family

Asya Danilova

  • OnStage New York Critic 

Liberty, a Monumental New Musical presents the adventures and misfortunes of the Statue of Liberty on her way to becoming a national landmark and international symbol of a welcoming light of a new home for immigrants.Liberty is portrayed as a young girl (delightful performance by Abigail Shapiro) sent to New York by her father Bartholdi (Ryan Duncan also playing a Native American).

With no penny in her pocket she walks the streets of downtown New York City and meets immigrants from all over Europe as well as marginalized locals – a black person and a Native American. They share the stories of their struggles as they look for work and confront the authorities represented by bureaucrat Francis A. Walker (Brandon Andrus, too charming for a servant of evil) and the lady of society Regina Schuyler (hilariously doubling as a Jewish, Russian immigrant).

Abigail Shapiro, Brandon Andrus and cast (Russ Rowland)

Abigail Shapiro, Brandon Andrus and cast (Russ Rowland)

Supplied by the recommendation letter from her father, Liberty is seeking the patronage of Walker but is getting a hard no during the playful duet “Charity Tango” which Walker and Schuyler apparently “don’t do”. The help comes from the poor immigrants and citizens who all pitch in as a part of the campaign of Joseph Pulitzer, the publisher of New York World (Mark Aldrich also performing the part of an Irish immigrant).Though this story might sound too rose-tinted-glasses, it is based on real life events. The fundraising for the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty attracted more than 120,000 contributors, most of who gave less than a dollar.

The joyous moment of giving Liberty her home is completed by the sonnet composed by Emma Lazarus (Emma Rosenthal). The famous lines “Give me your tired, your poor…” are made into a beautiful song “The New Colossus” and makes everybody’s eyes sparklewith tears.

The main element of the lighting design by Jamie Roderick is an LED backdrop with changing “postcard” views. Other than that there is practically no set with the exception of a couple of trunks and ladders. The historically inspired costumes by Deborah Hobson stand out against the electronic images of scenery.

Liberty, a Monumental New Musical with book and lyrics by Dana Leslie Goldstein and music by Jon Goldstein is a very engaging rendition of history from human perspective. Directed by Evan Papas, it is a delightful family show.

After its opening on 4th of July, Liberty will be running on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday at 3pm & 7pm & Thursday at 12pm at 3pm at 42 West (514 West 42). Tickets are $72/$36 (Premium/ Child Premium); $63 (Adult); $27 (Children 4-12) and can be purchased by visiting

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