Unholy Moses


Library of Congress

BLDZR: The Gospel According to Moses is a new well-intentioned but overly simplistic off-off-Broadway rock musical in the tradition of Rent. It dramatizes the rise and fall of New York "power broker" Robert Moses, who for decades was the nation's most influential unelected official.

Moses reshaped New York (state and city) by building beaches, parks, and highways. But he destroyed many neighborhoods to achieve his grand vision. The protagonist's foil is writer and community activist Jane Jacobs, frequently credited with ending Moses' grip on power when he tried and failed to build an expressway through her beloved Greenwich Village.

Jacobs is referred to as a "commie" during the show, but in real life she had renounced her membership in the Federal Workers Union because "it was communist dominated." Her opposition to Moses wasn't based on sentimentality or populism; it was her aversion to top-down central planning and the collusion of government and commerce, which she saw as a potentially fatal threat to her home and her neighbors'.