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He Says: Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation Sparkles Like a Fake Diamond that Ain’t Too Proud to be Rude and Witty

He Says: Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation Sparkles Like a Fake Diamond that Ain’t Too Proud to be Rude and Witty

Surprising us almost right off the bat, Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation skips gleefully forward with a clever game of Broadway goosing. It’s filled to the brim with whip smart songs and stellar performances that skewer about every show on Broadway from Frozen to Fiddler (in Yiddish). It does it with a dollop of loving humor and a bullseye sting that makes you giggle and gawk with joy, as you simultaneously nod with an appreciative nudge to your friend’s torso. The performers nail their jabs with precision which is what makes this poke and dig filled to the brim with Broadway adoration. Only those who love every inch of Broadway can find so much joy making fun of it.

Standout Immanuel Houston, who rises to the stars on Holliday wings, starts the production off with almost stereotypical standard appeal, only to be sidelined and hoodwinked by the fantastic foursome: Chris Collins-Pisano (Gateway’s Flashdance), Aline Mayagoitia (Resident Theatre’s Eva Perón in Evita), Jenny Lee Stern (Broadway/National Tour of Rocky, Jersey Boys) and Joshua Turchin (Hollywood Bowl’s The Little Mermaid). They are seemingly fresh off the tour bus track, and creating trouble for the emcee before boarding that Broadway train, courtesy of a Houston/Andre De Shields whistle blow. You’re gonna (wanna) ride that train, trust me.

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Jenny Lee Stern, Immanuel Houston, Aline Mayagoitia, Chris Collins-Pisano. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

Created, written and directed by Gerard Alessandrini (NYMF’s Madame X. The Musical) who is responsible for 25 editions of Forbidden Broadway all over the world, with fresh saucy choreography by an inventive Gerry McIntyre (York Theatre’s Hallelujah Baby!), and musical direction by Fred Barton (conducted Anthony Quinn in Zorba) tickling the keys on the piano at the rear, the playfulness is in full frenzied swing. Circulating through the Playbills of Broadway with a ferociously funny twist and turn, the cast changes hats and outfits, thanks to the deliciously spot on costuming by Dustin Cross (Off-Broadway’s The Other Josh Cohen) on a set (and poster) designed by Glenn Bassett (Off-Broadway’s Spamilton), with Beetlejuice spirited enterprise. Each of the five cast members find the spotlight and tirelessly entertains with unflagging glee. Turchin is a has-been most Dear. Stern shines super bright, especially when playing an annoyed and potent Judy Garland doing Renee Zellweger and then outdoing Renee’s cinematic Roxie Hart with Judy’s appeal, It’s magnificently meta and marvelous what Stern does- well, what they all do, mashing together wit and wise re-workings from the scores of TootsieAin’t Too ProudHamiltonHarry Potter and the Cursed ChildOklahoma!The PromA Chorus Line, and even The Ferryman. God, I hope you get it. 

Other standouts are the hilarious and exacting ridiculing of the sharp “Fosse/Verdon by Stern and Collins-Pisano with classics from their fame splashed forward with precision and delight, cause Whatever Fosse Wants, we get, in abundance. There is, courtesy of Mayagoitia’s Olivo, a rude sparkling and on-point funny nitpicking of Moulin Rouge!, alongside Lin-Manuel, Billy Porter, Sondheim, Harold Prince, and the magnificent Cy Coleman’s triple-threat (Stern, Mayagoitia, Houston) song from the glorious Sweet Charity tweaked with a few Broadway legends. Even Mary Poppins Returns finds a place to land on stage with heart and humor. Stern delivering a Mary worthy of the Lost Shows laid to rest one after the other with exacting pinches to our funny bone. Forbidden Broadway – The Next Generation is pure joy and silly fun. As Persephone says, it “takes a lot of medicine. To make it through the wintertime, and this is just the right kinda festive pill. So “ride that train to the end of the line“. It ain’t hell that is waiting for you at the other end, just a hilarious bit of heaven, ridiculously divine and perfectly delivered, with sass and smarts.

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Jenny Lee Stern, Chris Collins-Pisano. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

For more, go to frontmezzjunkies.com

Off Broadway
@#frontmezzjunkies

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my last...so far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

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