Forbidden Broadway by Gerard Alessandri

Dates and Venue 6-16 Jan 2010 @ 8pm | PAL Theatre, Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

A parody to Broadway, this musical takes jabs at musicals and performers of Broadway including Les Miserables, Wicked, Rent, Liza Minelli, Carol Channing, Chicago and others.

These five performers (with one surprise special number by "Manny") will get you laughing, giggling or snickering at the lyrics of this spoof musical. The show played for over 20 years off-Broadway, and Artistic Director Ryan Mooney added a small local touch spoofing the Vancouver musical theatre scene.

It's the kind of musical you can reinvent each time, taking out this piece here and substituting it for another piece. In one production London's West End, Sondheim's popular hit Send in the Clowns was substituted to Send in the Crowds. In the Fighting Chance Productions stab at Sondheim, his musical Into the Woods was parodied to Into the Words, "lovingly" showing how Sondheim is a wordy-type of a composer.

The spoof on Annie (Cathy Wilmot) was classic, as we see her now 30 years old, chain-smoking, looking for a job, and singing Tomorrow. Wilmot's take on Ethel Merman who satirizes the new music of Broadway where everyone wears wireless microphones commenting "We use our diaphragms" was another classic spoof.

David Nicks was really hilarious as the Phantom of the Opera, complaining about notes so hard to reach. He got a big applause when he went into a falsetto. Natalee Fera as Barbara Streisand was exquisite, mimicking every move of this singer, including her style of prolonging the tunes of every song. She also made fun of Mamma Mia singing Dancing Queen with Andrea Bailey. Aaron Lau spoofing Cats, with l Love Being a Cat and Memory, and so long as "it gets me a fat check, I don't mind playing it, and am now looking forward to playing Rintintin".

Musical Director Sarah Jay Smith did a good job accompanying the singers, and sometimes bantering with them. Stage manager Liz Wilton McMahan must have had a hard job cuing actors to come in and out of the different scenes and getting them to change costumes after every number. Good job! Perfect timing! Lighting Designer Graham Mockley was on cue with those lights, dimming them for the Les Miserables spoof, and bringing them up for the other scenes. Artistic Director Ryan Mooney who loves musical theatre should be continuing along this vein because this indeed is his forte.

All that energy, talent, this was indeed a fun-evening, Be sure and get your tickets soon as this might be a sold-out show, as it was the first two nights.

© 2010 Ed Farolan