“Forbidden Broadway”, Gerard Alessandrini’s (playwright-composer) forty year old spoof on Broadway musicals is baaack again, with the best of The Great Way dating back to “Annie” “Hello Dolly” , “Cats” and up to and including “Dear Evan Hanson, (or Has Been), “The Lion King”, “Frozen and “Once”, to name but a few.
The show, which I have seen several times is pretty much the same (although it has been rewritten and updated over the years, but that doesn’t take away from craziness of it..) Just off the bat, the “Hello Dolly” spoof with Cathy Barnett as the invincible Carol Channing and the Chita and Rita show is a hoot coming from the stage and movie versions of “West Side Story”. It’s a running joke and not just in “Forbidden Broadway”.
I was able to identify more shows than I thought I could, they came so fast and furious. Some were in your face easy to identify like “Chicago”, “The Lion King”, “Fiddler on The Roof”, and “Phantom of the Opera” (mask on wrong side if the Phantom’s face). And I did get a kick out of “Jersey Boys” with Selby, Rapier and Staudenmayer. Some might recall it originated at The La Jolla Playhouse.
You don’t have to be a Broadway maven to get all the inside jokes, but it does help to know something about a show’s content like familiar songs, though skewed, and well -known actors of the past like Robert Goulet. It also doesn’t hurt to know something about The Book of Mormon or Moron” either.
It also takes a whole lot of respect that the talented group of four on stage at North Coast Rep. are busting their collective arses to make this show come alive. They include William Selby (who also directs), Cathy Barnett, Tricia Rapier and Edward Staudenmayer. Local conductor extraordinaire and musical director Elan McMahan is on the keyboards throughout the entire show.
The quick costume changes are enough to spin heads. The costumes Elisa Benzoni (consultant) make up a big part of the show and if you look closely enough you can almost see the star behind the impersonator.
Trisha Rapier does a marvelous Barbara Streisand impersonation as does Cathy Barnett’s Liza (As a side note, I did feel a pang of sadness when the Liza spoof came out. After seeing her at the Tony’s I thought, why not just let rest. But, I guess that’ show biz.) as she ventures out into the audience just so one of the audience members can chat. She is also spot on as “Hello Dolly’s” Carol Channing.
With Marty Burnett designing the set, Mathew Novotny the lighting which was excellent, Dustin Cross, costume design and Aaron Rumley on sound, and it was loud and clear, you can’t go wrong with “Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits”.
When: 7 p.m. Wednesdays; 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays. Through May 22.
Where: North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987D Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach
Photo: Aaron Rumley
Phone: (858) 481-1055