Mean Street

I live on Baxter Street, only a few blocks north of the historic Five Points in lower Manhattan, so when a musical depicting that area during its heyday came to my attention, my interest was piqued. Sure, the area known in the mid-1850s for its prostitution and gambling, racial intermingling and bawdy theater scene has entered the public consciousness thanks to the Martin Scorsese blockbuster film Gangs of New York, but perhaps this musical could add a bit of nuance to all of the Hollywood hype. The Baxter Street depicted here seems a lawless, almost Darwinian place, where street fights and accidental murders are fodder for street-corner gossip and the well bred come to gawk at the lowborn as a form of entertainment. It's evident that playwright Barbara Kahn

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