Forbidden Broadway is a charming musical revue that unmasks some of the magic of musical theatre by spoofing the shows, songs, and performers from the great white way. It does so out of love for the genre which, brings smiles to the audience as they are permitted to share the inside joke.
The show was conceived and written by Gerard Alessandrini back in the mid-1980s. It has been continuously revised and performed almost every year since. In large part, the Theatre Factory’s cabaret-style production, admirably helmed by Director and Choreographer Rebekah Lecocq, seems to land in the late 1990’s era with a few current titles as well. Shows that are featured include the Chicago revival, Annie, Hello Dolly, Wicked, Les Misérables, Mamma Mia, Spamalot, Fiddler on the Roof, Hairspray and, A Chorus Line.
Forbidden Broadway has a cast of four, with “guest appearances” by Stephen Sondheim, Carol Channing, Chita Rivera, Idina Menzel, Kristen Chenoweth, Harvey Fierstein, Liza Minelli and Barbra Streisand.
You should now have the general concept of Forbidden Broadway; the shows are hijacked, and the performers impersonated, but the foolishness doesn’t stop there. The opening parody of Chicago doesn’t spare the Producers. How can you stage a bare-bones concert version revival with no scenery or costumes and still win a bunch of Tonys? The answer is simply Glossy (Bob) Fosse’s fabulous ground-breaking choreography and skimpy costumes.
Jacob Boergesson roasts Stephen Sondheim and his infamous lyrical trickery in Into the Words. Boergesson later dons black tights, a short sequined jacket and, a wig for his brave and funny impersonation of Liza Minelli in Liza One Note. It is probably the shows only awkward moment.
Erin Seaberg shows her best comedic skills as Carol Channing in the Please Don’t Do Hello Dolly Again sequence and The Song that Goes Like This from Spamalot. She has a wonderfully expressive face and can ham it up with the best of them.
Kirstin Repco does a very funny “short” Kristen Chenoweth impersonation in the Hairspray spoof. She also delivers a more modern number, On My Phone, a satire about what actors do when waiting backstage, to the tune of On My Own from Les Misérables. Repco demonstrates the best singing voice of the cast in her numbers.
Adam Seligson is quite the clown and handles the character changes seamlessly. He also makes a pretty funny Cats’ cat too.
The Musical Director Dan Styslinger accompanies the cast of four on piano. The voices are sharp and clear. Lecocq’s direction strikes a solid spoof balance while not becoming overly campy. Scott Calhoon’s set is well suited in its simplicity and is nicely executed by Katie Ingram. The actors are clearly having fun with the show, and the fun is contagious with the audience.
One observation, in such a small and intimate venue, I question Sound Designer Jesse Madden’s use of head-worn microphones by the actors. The loudness and distortion from the sound system compromised the vocal abilities of the actors. It sounded as if Boergesson’s mic was not working most of the second act which, was a pleasant and welcome occurrence.
The Theatre Factory has an enjoyable little show here. If you are a fan of musical theatre, show tunes and, the characters who inhabit them, support community theatre and see Forbidden Broadway.
Forbidden Broadway runs now through May 6th at the Theatre Factory in Trafford with performances Thursday through Saturday at 8:00 pm and Sunday Matinees at 2:00 pm.
For tickets call the Box Office at 412 374 9200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to the Theatre Factory for the complimentary tickets.
Categories: Archived Reviews