MainStreet Award

 

 

Directors' Choice Award Winner

| script | breakdown | synopsis |

Bulldozier (The Human Toll)

music & lyrics Peter Galperin, book by Peter Galperin, Daniel Scot Kadin, Beck Lee

Music

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Script

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Score

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Synopsis

“The Human Toll” chronicles master builder Robert Moses’ evolution from populist believer in the common man to a power-insulated enemy of the people.  It is a truly staggering and shocking human story.

But it is also a story of New York.  As we vault from boardrooms and hearing rooms to satellite views, to street corners, to scenes around the kitchen table, the narrative seesaws from the cold conceptualism of planning and politics, to the deep, bloody turmoil of the human soul.

The Story, in Brief

From his folk-hero early years when the newspapers portrayed him as a Johnny Appleseed of the common man, building parks, roads and public facilities across New York State, to his creation and leadership of the new Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, Robert Moses was a modern-day shadow Caesar.  In the early 1950s, at the height of his power, Mayor Robert Wagner tried to get rid of his commissioner, but couldn’t. Moses, who put tens of thousands to work, was just too influential.  Through the powers of eminent domain, he managed to raze entire neighborhoods, displacing over half a million low-income and middle-class New Yorkers to make way for public housing and highways.  Ultimately these colossal projects would divert resources from public transportation and other civic amenities (like parks, ironically enough), helping to create a new class of entrenched, political interests.

The Man

MAN vs. CITY
In a career as commissioner spanning forty years, Robert Moses conceived, built and even ran much of New York City.  He was by far the most powerful unelected public official New York has ever seen.  And because his ideas and techniques were imitated across the country for decades to come, his influence would extend well beyond New York.  In fact Moses truly parted the waters for the car culture of today, and by extension a modern urbanism that shaped how almost every American city looks today.

Brash, brilliant, socially awkward, the 20th Century’s Ultimate Master Builder -- he didn’t even drive!

Notes

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