Archikulture Digest

Forbidden Broadway – Greatest Hits Volume 1

Forbidden Broadway – Greatest Hits Volume 1

Created and written by Gerard Alessandrini

Directed by Steve Mackinnon

Mad Cow Theatre, Orlando FL</strong>

After twenty years of raking in the big bucks in New York and LA, it’s about time this hysterical parody of Broadway’s biggest hits made it down here to sunny Florida. It seems the author was reluctant to let his baby out of the big city, but under the careful musical direction of Steve MacKinnon this show takes on a life of it own and soars higher than the wires holding up the lead in “Wicked.”

There’s not really a story here, of course, and a really great musical doesn’t need much of one anyway. All of these musical numbers are rather pointed parodies of the more popularly pretentious Broadway hits from precocious “Annie” to the dated “Rent” and passing through the chipped and slightly tilted icons of one-word stars like “Liza” and “Barbara.”

We open with some swipes at Bob Fosse’s glitzy “Chicago.” As Angela Sapolis belts and the rest of the cast poses for “Glossy Fosse”, one phase kept repeating in my head – “Jazz Hands! Jazz Hands!” Next up, the complex nuances and unsingable melodies of Sondheim collapse in “Into the Words” with an attempted audience sing along. You may not like Sondheim, but you have to agree – it takes a brave actor to tackle his scores.

In all this silliness, Kevin Kelly stood out in his dragged up Carol Channing wig as he lead the cast in beating “Hello Dolly” to a long overdue grave. Later he reappeared in a half mask with Ms. Sapolis to threaten us with a chandelier in “Mucus of the Night.” The charming David Chernault reminded us of Richard Harris in Spam-a-Lot singing “The Song They Stole From Us” which apparently WAS actually stolen from author Alessandrini. Irony – it’s everywhere.

I can’t say I’ve seen all the musicals on the dissecting table to night, but that’s not a requirement to appreciate the nuanced subtly of an industrial fan and an actor in a flying money mask making the Wicked Witch Of The West more an object of ridicule than sympathy. That’s what makes democracy and entertainment strong – the ability to look itself in the eye and pull off a great prat fall. This is a must see for the fans of Broadway musical, and an even bigger must see for those who hate them. “Forbidden Broadway” is an equal opportunity seat wetting comedy.

For tickets and more information on Mad Cow, please visit http://www.madcowtheatre.com


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