Manhattan and Broadway may be the theater capitols of the world, but there is an upstart institution in Brooklyn that has been quietly asserting itself as a preeminent music, art, cinema, literature, performance and theater space: Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). Don’t tell any of your snobby Broadway friends, but there is a thriving theater and performance scene happening in downtown Brooklyn at BAM.
BAM is not a new kid on the block; it is actually America’s “oldest continuously operating performance art center,” with its founding dating all the way back to 1861. BAM features work from all over the world, including more than 200 separate stage performances every year. The BAM cinema has four screens and operates 365 days a year. BAM has an in-house restaurant and bar, and BAM café hosts free performances all the time; up to 75 every year.
Since it’s been a part of the community so long, BAM’s history is impressive. Political speeches, events and rallies used to be the order of the day, and BAM was the place in Brooklyn to be heard. Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Gertrude Stein, Langston Hughes, Frank Lloyd Wright, Amelia Earhart and many others have trod BAM’s earth.
BAM is not for profit, so they rely on donations and ticket sales to keep going. BAM also has an education component that serves tens of thousands of students annually. Rather than doing the same-old, same-old, take an evening and head over to Brooklyn Academy of Music and see what’s going on.