BWW Feature: FRIENDS! THE MUSICAL PARODY at The D Las Vegas
The television show Friends remains a perennial favorite beginning from its first broadcast in the 1990s to its rebroadcast on various streaming services, TBS and Paramount Network. FRIENDS! The Musical Parody, the live comedic production brings the beloved show to a new audience with its debut at the D Las Vegas on Oct. 26.
Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey, and Phoebe come back to laugh, cry, and fall in love in 1990s Manhattan all set to original music. The production originated off-Broadway at St. Luke's Theatre in 2017 and delighted audiences through July.
Reboots such as Murphy Brown and Magnum P.I. on television capitalizes on the trend of bringing favorite shows to today's audiences.
"There is such a sense of nostalgia about them. The '90s was such a fun time, and we didn't really have anything awful happening such as a major war. This was a time before 9/11, and we had just come out of the Regan and Bush era," explains Dana Iannuzzi, associate director and one of the directors on the Las Vegas production. "It was a happy time." The resurgence of people watching situation comedies in the 1990s, including Friends, epitomizes the era of everyone ready for a good laugh.
FRIENDS! The Musical Parody pokes fun, in a very playful way, at the show itself and shines a light on some of the hilarious aspects of the show. For example, the characters sat in a coffee shop all day, and no one saw them at work.
"We are paying homage to the show as well as pointing some things out that fans noticed," Iannuzzi states.
She is very excited to bring the production to the D Las Vegas in downtown Las Vegas. As Fremont Street transforms into a cosmopolitan center that is also family friendly, FRIENDS! The Musical Parody is a perfect fit.
As for musical theater, according to Iannuzzi, there are shows and production teams that change the conversation and gets people excited about attending the theater. A Chorus Line, Rent, and Hamilton invigorate interest in both the music and the storyline. It amazes her when theatergoers recognize songs from shows.
"This is an exciting time at the moment. Popular shows such as Glee have exposed the audience to musical theater."
Still, audience members do not need to be an avid fan of the television show to enjoy the production. The basis of the show is about heart, relationships, and the comradery between six people who are sharing their lives. Some audience members will care about the characters because they let them into their homes every week. Other people attending the show will relate to the real-life experience hanging out with a special group. Audiences will also connect with the characters on stage in a production that is not a traditional Broadway musical but a parody that does not take itself too seriously.
The cast includes Chandler Jerod Perez (Marriage Can Be Murder) as Chandler, Megan T. Smith (Tony and Tina's Wedding) as Monica, Luke Striffler (The Kingdom Tenors from Britain's Got Talent Season 9) as Ross, Nicole Unger (cast member of Disney Cruise Lines) as Rachel, Zac Greenwell as Joey, and Casey Weems (of ABC's The Proposal Season 1) as Phoebe. Jackson Tobiska as Gunther will round out the cast and Erin Baltsar is the female swing.
FRIENDS! The Musical Parody will perform at the D Las Vegas Wednesday to Monday with show dark on Tuesdays. Tickets can be purchased online at theD.com or by calling the box office at 702-388-2111.