Forbidden Broadway 

Forbidden Broadway is a long running, oft-revised spoof of Broadway musicals.  This is the 25th anniversary edition, the series having debuted in 1982.  Songs are borrowed for their tunes and lyrics from many Broadway shows and used to send up the originals from which they are borrowed.  This version spoofs, among others:  Mary Poppins, Curtains, Company, the Drowsy Chaperone, Wicked, Jersey Boys, Spamalot, Xanadu, Hair Spray, Les Miserables among others.  The costumes are clever, creative and funny;  the staging is also well-done.  The two female and two male actor/singers are good in all the ways Broadway caliber actors should be:  good singers, good acting ability, good movement.

Unfortunately, that is all that is good about this production.  Why they need a sound system for a 131 seat theatre I don’t know.  All of the singers seem to be strong enough to project to the rear of this narrow eleven row auditorium.  But even if a sound system is useful in this venue, production values must be observed.  This system was either inferior or distorted by overload.  No sound tech is listed in the program, but between producers John Freedson, Harriet Yellin and Jon B. Platt and directors Gerard Alessandrini and Philip George, there is no excuse for such poor sound a scant ½ block off-Broadway.  

The lyrics were strained and the rhymes contrived in a failed effort to mock much better plays than this one.  They long wistfully for Ethel Merman, and it seems Gerard Alessandrini now only attends theatre to spoof it until Ethel returns.  I go to the theatre to be entertained, not to scratch cheap satire out of decent Broadway fare.  Sure there is silliness in some plays.  “Company” gets a well-deserved sendup, altho’ the song they spoof is actually a highlight of that play.  And they totally miss the point when equating the dopey Xanadu movie with the excellent Broadway production as if the play did not exponentially surpass the film. 

Pearls before swine.  Save your money.