I originally reviewed Gerard Alessandrini’s parody revue Forbidden Broadway, The Next Generation October 17th and the show has only gotten better. This show is still one of the funniest, intelligent, talent filled nights in theatre. It is pure entertainment.
Starting with “God, I Wanna See It” a family arrives in Times Square to see Broadway shows and the spoof begins. Nothing is out of bounds. Expect shows on Broadway, Off, TV, Film and the past to titulate. Hermes, Tony Award winner André De Shields (Immanuel Houston) from Hadestown is our guide.
Each of the cast members shines. Immanuel Houston plays Jennifer Holliday, to Bette Midler ( Jenny Lee Stern) and Bernadette Peters (Mayagoitia) as they pounder other roles to play in “There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This” (Sweet Charity). He is Billy Porter, partnered with Lin-Manuel Miranda (Chris Collins-Pisano) in “Say No to This” and “Ev’ry Thing Now Is Inclusive”. Jeremy Pope also gets a moment with “Ain’t Too Proud.
Chris Collins-Pisano takes up Alex Brightman in Beetlejuice and Bob Fosse with Jenny Lee Stern as Verdon. Gerry McIntyre’s choreography shines and Pisano is a true triple threat.
Stern is a star with her renditions of Verdon, Judy Garland, Renée Zellweger and Mary Poppins “The Place Where the Lost Shows Go,” a memorial for flop shows. She is spot on.
Aline Mayagoitia brings to life Karen Olivo in Moulin Rude and Caitlin Kinnunen in The Prom. Here the cast gets better choreography in a high octane dance number. Ms. Mayagoitia brings the house down as Elsa singing “Overblown!”
Last but not least is the uber talented 13-year-old Joshua Turchin. He gives a great rendition of “Evan Has-Been”, as well as a fabulous rendition of Santino Fontana as Dorothy singing “Unwatchable”.
Even plays are spoofed with The Ferryman “How Are Things in Irish Drama?” and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child getting “Magic for Two”. Missing was the Tina Turner musical.
This version also goes off Broadway with Fiddler on the Roof‘s “Translation,” and a clever “Brush Up Your Yiddish.”
Even directors are now making the list with Daniel Fish. One of my favorite’s of the whole night is Woke-lahoma! the scathing take on the Rodgers and Hammerstein revival.
Dustin Cross costumes and Wig designer Conor Donnelly make sure we know who is who and do it under budget.
The one-man orchestra pianist/ musical director and orchestrator Fred Barton is seriously a genius.
This show is a must see if you want to laugh!
Forbidden Broadway The Next Generation: The York Theatre, 619 Lexington Ave until Feb. 16th, but expect this to extend.