Can you imagine if Gerard Alessandrini wasn’t an out of work actor thirty years ago? His creative, sharply witty and blistering expose of the blemishes of Broadway musical revue– FORBIDDEN BROADWAY would never have been born.
And now thirty years later, emerging in its newest incarnation FORBIDDEN BROADWAY – Comes Out Swinging (and boy do they mean it) – at the newly refurbished DAVENPORT THEATRE – where it sparkles like a treasure chest filled with diamonds. It is immense fun. And knowing the show’s reference points make it twice as much fun. No one is safe.
With a quartet of players (Carter Calvert, Mia Gentile, Scott Richard Foster and Marcus Stevens) blessed with outstanding comic timing, an ability to mimic the multitude of stars represented, terrific voices and the dexterity to manage hand held microphones – we are bombarded with Mr. Alessandrini’s take on the present and recently departed Broadway scene with its extended family represented by the television live special of THE SOUND OF MUSIC included, re-writing the lyrics to the famous tunes to suit his own satiric purpose. How could he resist lampooning Carrie Underwood? Or pointing out the corporate take-overs rampant on the Great White Way?
Mr. A has the courage to say what many people think but are afraid to say. Bless him! And he says it with a sometimes scathing wit that is based in truth – the whole truth and nothing but – which makes it all so deliciously amusing. That is, if you are not the target of his barbed arrows.
The other stars of the production include the expert pianist David Caldwell, who keeps things humming along like a well-tuned engine as the actors quick change characters, fabulous right on wigs (Bobbie Cliffton Zlotnik) and amazingly elaborate costumes (Dustin Cross/Philip Heckman) and director Phillip George who has also provided some snappy dialogue (along with his co-director Mr. A.)
Highlights include everything. And I won’t give any of the specifics away – they must be heard for the first time for full effect.
If I must I will point out Mr. Foster’s Robert from BRIDGES, Frankie Valli JERSEY BOYS, Sylvester Stallone ROCKY, Steve Kazee ONCE and Alan Cumming CABARET. Mia’s Patina Miller PIPPIN, Cristin Milioti ONCE, Audra McDonald THE SOUND OF MUSIC and Stark Sands KINKY BOOTS. Then we have Carter Calvert as Andrea Martin PIPPIN, Fran Drescher CINDERELLA, Francesca BRIDGES, Carole King BEAUTIFUL, Carrie Underwood THE SOUND OF MUSIC and Liza. Mr. Stevens shines as Matthew Warchus Trunchbull MATILDA, Jason Robert Brown, JASON ROBERT BROWN, Andy Karl ROCKY, Woody Allen BULLETS and the amazing Mandy Patinkin.
There are more laughs per minute than any other production on or off Broadway. Who could ask for anything more? Two Acts. Almost two hours. Too funny for words.
Photos: Carol Rosegg
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