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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Broadway Alert: Forbidden Broadway Highly Recommended by Whom You Know Our Coverage Sponsored by Stribling and Associates

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If you were to give a potion of premium singing elixir to the cast of Saturday Night Live that made them sing like diamonds from Tiffany's sparkle and give them magic dancing shoes at the same time that made them all Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and waved your wand, you'd have the hugely talented cast of Forbidden Broadway, who are among the most talented we've ever seen, and definitely the most talented and efficient concurrently.  And how did we discover such a find?  It's not who you know, it's Whom You Know we learned at Miss Porter's which led Peachy to Boston College, which is also the alma mater of Tony-award-winning producer Will Dombrowski, who is an investor in Forbidden Broadway.  Ever to Excel lives again on Whom You Know and go tour guides! (Note Golden Globe Host Amy Poehler is BC Class of '93...)

Forbidden Broadway is running now and is scheduled to be performed through April we understand, and you will be laughing from start to finish, even if you have not been to the Broadway shows spoofed.  As this is technically Off-Broadway (though the performances are spot-ON), the theater is smaller than a regular Broadway theater which is better for every single audience member's vantage point you'll see as soon as you sit down.  There's not a bad seat in the house.

Soon you be living Evita Loca (we particularly roared at her version of English for dummies) basking in the shining talent of each cast member and as the show goes on, the versatility of each respectively will blow you away.  They all must be genetically engineered like the Energizer Bunny as well.  We have no idea how they successfully pulled off so many costume changes so quickly and accurately but they each must have about five fairy godmothers.  Musically we believe we heard some lovely Ella Fitzgerald songs and impersonations of Bernadette Peters and Stephen Sondheim were brilliant.  Peachy was bursting when they did Mary Poppins, especially when they noted that it was just what people from Connecticut love!  And guess what musical was built with Nascar fans...Sutton Foster and Matthew Broderick do not emerge unscathed either-change the G to a B and what do you have (think of the name of their musical).

Catherine Zeta-Jones was among our favorites as well and we'll take those hounds (Lucy Vonnegut especially-check out how she weighs in on her Bremma...) and we're sure another BC alum Bryce Pinkham would appreciate the Ghost references because he has a funny bone or two!  Bono during Spiderman was simply sensational.  And you know Peachy's favorite current musical was portrayed with Singing Like a Girl...

Newsies, Smash, Book of Mormon and Porgy and Bess are all also cracked up. There's not a lot of scenery because it's unnecessary and it would be distracting.  All that is necessary is these highly entertaining actors that will have you roaring with delight.  We liked the simplicity and think less is more with props here.  Peachy's favorite number was the Lion King, complete with Lion wearing both Mickey and Pooh though we wish Tigger was also included...also a big round of applause to the piano man who single-handedly did each and every musical number perfectly with gusto.

Even if your Broadway-loving friend brings you, who hasn't seen quite so many shows, be assured even if you have been to zero Broadway shows you still will experience tremendous snickering here and you'll be in good company, because there's not a silent unsmiling soul in the house.

Our esteemed panelist adds:

A thousand years ago, in a land far, far away, Raul Julia was part of a comedy troupe at the Hotel El Convento in Old San Juan. Way before his fame spread far and wide, you could see him 3 nights a week in an alcove cabaret room, being funnier than he ever was again. It was my 17th year, and what I remember is the laughter. The show itself was a parody/spoof of sorts, with skits, songs, and references to Broadway, Connecticut, and New York City. Jump quite a few years into the future, to 1985, to when I first saw Forbidden Broadway.  The impact of the laughter gave me such a flashback that I had to reflect- where had this happened before? And now it has happened all over again. the thread of the parody lives on! Comedy is the saving grace, and with a little music, dancing, and slapstick thrown in, this is the ticket to get.

The comedy in Forbidden Broadway references current shows on Broadway, so the one in the 1980's has nothing to do with the one currently at the 47th St. Theatre. Except for the laughter. Using well-known hits from shows as themes, the librettist has altered and tweaked each number to fit the show du jour. So, the original may have flapped about Carol Channing in "Hello, Dolly", where this new and improved, updated version goes after Matthew Broderick, Stephen Sondheim, Bernadette Peters. In an impressive non-stop marathon of a show, the four actors don witty costumes and characters, with not a drop in timing, reference, or note. The only notes that are out of tune are part of the show, when the moment is right. And the moment is always right in Forbidden Broadway. No stone left unturned, so to speak, from the hilarious opening number from Brigadoon, and the Ricky Martin send-off " Livin' Evita Loca". Yes, it makes you want to run to the theater every night to see all of the show they reference, just as the Oscar nominations chase us all out into the movie houses to catch up. So go. Go see The Lion King, if you can get tickets. And The Book of Mormon. And then you'll know the very classy (not) references to the "Book of Morons", and the wild costumes for this 5 minute version of The Lion King. Disney it ain't. But there are jibes at the audience, at theatre go-ers in general, at the state of Broadway, and Disney. There are jibes at everyone. Whatever is left out just couldn't fit, I'm sure. The cast is a tightly-knit ensemble, and bounces, literally, all over the stage. The costumes are hilarious, sometimes comical, sometimes deferential, but boy, do they work. How did they do the witch in Wicked? The put neon green opera length gloves, and green tinted sunglasses on her, that's how. Poof! She's green.

One of the best moments is the h
ilarious second when …well, I won't spoil it for you, but it's about "Annie". Tears will roll down your cheeks, and not out of romantic love, or sappy songs. The sap here is all comic induced, and will refresh that spark of "I love Broadway" for every show tune fan alive. Mimicry at it's best, with a wannabe Bernadette Peters, and even Judy Garland. Now, what else can you ask for in a show? Glamour, guts, and glory! There was a full house the night we went, and the show runs only until April, so get your tickets reserved now. And you'll laugh forever, with the ditties in this show.

Whom You Know Highly Recommends Forbidden Broadway!


47th Street Theatre
304 West 47th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues)

Brief synopsis:
Forbidden Broadway, the fall-down funny musical roast of Broadway that has picked up 9 Drama Desk Awards, a Special Tony®, an Obie, a Lucille Lortel and Drama League Award, is back at last with a blast, and not a moment too soon.

This New York sensation is returning with an all-new, fresh view of the highs and lows of recent seasons including Porgy and Bess, Anything Goes, Follies, Spiderman, Book of Mormon, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Once, and Death of a Salesman, and features outrageous costumes, hilarious rewrites of the songs you know, and dead-on impressions by an stellar cast!

Whether you're a seasoned theatre-goer or new to Broadway, Forbidden Broadway is your one-stop ticket to non-stop laughs. 

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