BWW Reviews: You Either Get It or You Don't FORBIDDEN BROADWAY'S GREATEST HITS at Winter Park Playhouse
It's a show that only can truly appreciated by theater folk. FORBIDDEN BROADWAY'S GREATEST HITS is a spoof on many famous musicals, but if you don't know musicals then you won't get it. Fortunately, the Winter Park Playhouse crowd knows musicals and the troupe of four actors nail each comedic beat.
FORBIDDEN BROADWAY began in the 1980s off-Broadway as a parody of some of Broadway's biggest shows, stars, and players. The show is always evolving as new Broadway hits come out each season. FORBIDDEN BROADWAY'S GREATEST HITS is a bit cabaret style and features spoofing the favorite shows like LES MISERABLES, WICKED, RENT, MAMMA MIA, etc. Writer Gerard Alessandrini changes Broadway's most recognizable show tunes like WICKED's "Defying Gravity" to "Defying Subtlety". The show also features spoofs on famous Broadway alumna like Chita & RIta, Mandy Patinkin, and show stoppers like Carol Channing and Barbara Streisand.
Regardless if you know the show or the tunes being spoofed the quattro of actors is what makes the show fantastic. David Almeida, Heather Kopp, Benjamin Ptashinski, and Allyssa Yost play a variety of characters with amazing versatility. It was a thoroughly enjoyable night with the audience laughing out loud at Ptashinski's Mandy Patinkin and later his Jean Valjean. Heather Kopps as Liza Minnelli had the audience roaring with "Liza one note."
The miss comes from the staging subtlety. Not everyone would know that the original staging of LES MISERABLES featured a crazy turntable if they never saw it, but it is prominently featured in FORBIDDEN BROADWAY's LES MIS spoof. For the most part, the audience seemed to be well-versed and appreciated the comedic timing.
A+ for the live music under the direction of Chris Leavy, which always adds that extra bit of magic to live theater. The costume changes were frequent and worked well for the production. Even the choreography was a great theatergoer inside joke.
Winter Park Playhouse's FORBIDDEN BROADWAY ended this weekend, but their next season promises to be just as entertaining. Located in Winter Park, the Winter Park Playhouse is one of two Florida theaters that focus solely on musical theater. Next season will start this summer with SHOUT! THE MOD MUSICAL; next BACKWARDS IN HIGH HEELS: THE GINGER ROGERS MUSICAL; in September THEY'RE PLAYING OUR SONG. During the fall: ISN'T IT ROMANTIC? A TRIBUTE TO RODGERS & HART. In 2015: THE RAT PACK LOUNGE; A DAY IN HOLLYWOOD/ A NIGHT IN THE UKRAINE; and concluding with PUTTING IT TOGETHER featuring the music of Stephen Sondheim.
While you may not be familiar with all the titles, Winter Park Playhouse always produces light-hearted musicals, performed by fabulous singers, and promises to take you away from your troubles.
For more information about Winter Park Playhouses's next season and to purchase tickets for next season, visit http://www.winterparkplayhouse.org/.
Photo Credit: Winter Park Playhouse