March 12, 2015

In a scene from Jackie Alexander’s timely and sympathetic “Brothers From the Bottom,” at the Billie Holiday Theater, two men stand on a shared front porch and argue about the fate of their neighborhood. Trey (Wendell Franklin) is involved in a plan to replace rundown houses with gleaming condos. His brother, Chris (Wendell Pierce of “The Wire” and “Treme”), is skeptical. “Sound like gentrification to me,” he says. “Revitalization would be a better word choice,” Trey insists. Whatever you call it, it’s happening all around New York — from Crown Heights to Washington Heights, from Ridgewood to Midwood. It’s happening in Bedford-Stuyvesant, the longtime home of the Billie Holiday Theater, and in Fort Greene, where that theater is currently in residence at the Brooklyn Music School Playhouse. “Brothers From the Bottom” unfolds in post-Katrina New Orleans, but the gasps and laughter from a recent audience showed that its subject hits home here, too.