BWW Reviews: FORBIDDEN BROADWAY Back to Skew Behemoths of the Great White Way
Is the New York Times Theater section your bible? Can you recall Tony winners at the drop of a tap shoe? Do you rate LaDucas higher than Louboutins? Do you argue over who was the best "Phantom?" Then "Forbidden Broadway" might just be your kind of show.
The show opens with a twist on the classic tune from "Forum," "Parody Tonight!" Four actors skewer everything from "Evita" to "Wicked" in 90 minutes. If you don't recognize "If I Were A Christian Man" from "Fiddler," wait for "Circle of Mice" from "Lion King."
Bored? There's a double parody from "Mary Poppins." One roasts the sugary humor of the show with a riposte of the famous tune "Stupid Careless Fictional Nonsensical Verboseness." Another smacks tourists and Connecticut thrill-seekers with "Feed The Burbs."
The previous Forbidden Broadway tour played Naples in April 2011; this cast even contains two of the same performers: Valerie Fagan and Jeanne Montano. They are joined by Craig Laurie and Kevin B. McGlynn. A good chunk of the show remains the same.
Beyond the "Annie" and "Les Miserables" standbys, there's a "Defying Subtlety" gag from "Wicked." This sent a ripple of laughter across the room when Montano crawled up on a milk crate and bellowed "DEFYING SUBTLETY!!!!!!" wearing a green face mask and a witch's cloak. Because if "Wicked" is anything - it is NOT subtle.
Some new material does make it into the show. A "Jersey Boys" parody nails the formulaic dance moves, odd narrative structure - and specifically the show's singing style. The Four Seasons song at the heart of show sees its lyrics twisted to become "Walk like a man, sing like a girl, you'll soar to number one. Falsetto pitch is such a b****!"
Another skit mixes perennial favorites "Cats" and "A Chorus Line," with kitties auditioning to the lyrics of "scratch, scratch, lick, sniff, etc." Then, kittens whip off their overcoats to reveal the gold vests from "Chorus Line" - and sparkling gold hats with leopard print - for a few more verses.
The show even retreats to television, with a mediocre-to-awful "duet" from the dueling divas of "Smash" in the second half. As much as NBC tries, "Smash," with an average audience of fewer than 8M, is not a hit; neither was the sketch.
Chris Silk is the arts writer and theater critic for the Naples Daily News. To read the longer version of this review, go to: http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2013/jan/09/review-forbidden-broadway-30th-anniversary-naples/.
Photo Credit: Courtesy Naples Philharmonic