Open: 11/05/13- Close: 11/13/13
Reviewed for TheaterOnline.com By: Brett Epstein
After a three year hiatus Gerard Alessandrini’s Forbidden Broadway, a ruthless parody of recent shows to hit the Great White Way, is back at the 47th Street Theatre. From the trusty moneymakers that have been soaring for years (Wicked, The Lion King) to those that have received mixed to negative reviews yet are hanging in there (Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, Nice Work if You Can Get It) no show or star is safe. Not even you, Patti LuPone. Or… epecially you, Patti LuPone.
While other parodies are stringed together by one specific plotline, FB is simply song after song after song after song, each touching upon a different Broadway related occurrence from the last year or so. These occurrences range from actual Broadway runs (like Sutton Foster or Bernadette Peters’ facial expressions, each spot-on by the hilarious Jenny Lee Stern) to beyond-the-stage appearances (like Catherine Zeta-Jones’ wide-eyed yet catatonic performance at the Tonys, mocked with physical and vocal perfection by Natalie Charle Ellis).
Each performer’s routine is enhanced by a barrage of clever, witty lyrics. There are examples at every turn, but some of my favorites are Matthew Broderick’s nasally rendition of “Nice Song if I Could Sing It” and the leads of Once announcing “We’re so unpretentious, now we’re pretentious.”
Segments making fun of Smash, Rock of Ages and Annie are repetitive and perhaps superfluous in an evening filled with so many moments that do hit home. And audience members who have seen the shows targeted here will get a bigger kick out of certain bits. Still, Forbidden Broadway is an entertaining, high-energy musical whose creator dares to say onstage what so many theatergoers have no doubt been thinking offstage.
47th Street Theatre : 304 W. 47th Street