Sunday, May 4, 2014

Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging! ****

Rejoice, musical theater lovers! The ever-inventive Gerard Alessandrini is back with a new edition of this classic series that affectionately (and, sometimes, not so affectionately) skewers the latest Broadway musicals and their creators. For over 30 years, he has managed to keep us laughing with his punchy satires. The current version, now at the Davenport Theatre (fka 45th Street Theatre), provides ample proof that he hasn’t lost his touch. Among his latest targets are Pippin, Matilda, Cinderella, Bridges of Madison County, Rocky, Aladdin, Les Miz (sans turntable), The Sound of Music (live on TV), Book of Mormon, Bullets over Broadway, Cabaret and Kinky Boots. Jason Robert Brown, Idina Menzel, Michelle Williams, Liza Minelli and Mandy Patinkin take their lumps. Not every sketch is a knockout, but enough are to make for a thoroughly delightful evening. As usual, Alessandrini has assembled a terrific cast: Carter Calvert, Scott Richard Foster, Mia Gentile and Marcus Stevens all display an amazing ability to disappear into their roles and are vocally strong. Music director/pianist David Caldwell is excellent. Costume designers Dustin Cross and Philip Heckman and wig designer Bobbie Cliffton Zlotnik deserve special mention. One quibble: the sound was too loud for the first 20 minutes or so. In addition to creating and writing the show, Alessandrini co-directed with Phillip George. For those of you who have seen many of the shows or who just follow the Broadway scene, an evening of fun awaits you. Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes including intermission.

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