Friday, September 7, 2012

Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking @ The 47st Theatre

            “So come with us on an Omni Bus to...” the 47th Street Theatre where Forbidden Broadway has opened its doors again after three years. Forbidden Broadway is finally back after a long hiatus with fresh new skits making fun of all the beloved Broadway stars. George Alessandrini waited until the scene was ripe for the pickings again to bring back the fan favorite.
Forbidden Broadway first started teasing the stars way back in 1982. Since then, it has had a number of revivals, with new numbers about new shows constantly popping up. Forbidden has spoofed every show imaginable from The Phantom of the Opera to RENT. Actors themselves aren’t safe with spoofs about Carol Channing to Liza Minnelli to Stephen Sondheim. Forbidden Broadway consists of two men and two women who are charged with the difficult task of impersonating the men and women of Broadway.  In this current edition, the spoofers are Natalie Charlé Ellis (Off-Broadway’s Rated P for Parenthood), Scott Richard Foster (Brooklyn the Musical), Jenny Lee Stern (National Tour of Jersey Boys), and Marcus Stevens (author of Yo, Vikings!). The show has produced ten albums and has had over 9000 performances of the show in all is variations.
Act 1 starts off with a funny little skit about two men ending up in the dreaded “Off Broadway” theater where Forbidden Broadway first happened. They quickly get right to the point and start their impressions; Stevens starts off the night with his Ricky Martin impression spoofing the well-known revival of Evita. They move on to, one of the favorites of the night, “Nice Song If You Can Sing It” – Broadway’s Nice Work If You Can Get It. Again, Marcus’s impression of Matthew Broderick was spot on – voice and mannerisms were all there. Following close behind was an updated skit about ancient Granny Annie (Stern). Act 1 flies by with its impressions and jokes flying fast and hitting the mark almost every time. Some other note-worthy new skits in Act 1 include Once (a bit where the actors plead for the producers to hire a band so they can just focus on acting), Anything Goes (with a great impersonation of Sutton Foster by the talented Stern), and Newsies.
Act 2 was full of Tony award winning spoofs such as the current revival of The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and The Book of Mormon. Ellis performed a stunning impersonation of Audra McDonald; she has a beautiful voice which was amazingly just like Audra’s powerful stunner. Also, Stern’s skit about Diana Paulus was truly something hysterical and memorial. Another memorable moment in Act 2 was the Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark fight between Julie Taymore (Ellis) and Bono (Foster). The two well known’s go at it as they fight over whose production it actually is. 
Although the show was full of new updated material, Alessandrini kept some of the well-known skits from past productions for shows that are still “Alive and Kicking” on Broadway. Ellis takes her turn at “Feed the Burbs” based off of Mary Poppins. In addition to Mary Poppins, there was Rafreakey from the Lion King, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons from Jersey Boys, and the ever popular Wicked, taking a stab at Idina Mendel’s vocal power. In an interview with Alessanderini, he mentioned that Forbidden Broadway made spoofs and skits about anything covering Broadway, which also means that anything having to do with Broadway was free game. So with no hesitation, he goes after the production of Into the Woods in Central Park, where Donna Murphy and Amy Adams are singing “Agony” about their outrageous costumes. The hit television show Smash that looks at the makings of a Broadway production was also not safe as Alessandersini took “Let Me Be Your Star” and turned it to be “Let Me Be Sub-Par,” which had the audience rolling as Katherine McPhee and Megan Hilty battled it out.
 All in all, the show was a fantastic way to spend two hours. The audience was in constant fits of laughter. The actors did a brilliant job of finding the little nuances, voices, and facial expressions that remind us of favorite actors. When the performance of "Alive and Kicking" is over, Broadway is incontestably beaten and scorned. “TaTa Folks.”

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