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A CurtainUp Review
Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab
By Elyse Sommer
Maybe Alessandrini is right in his belief that the shows headed to the Great White Way lack the qualities that have made the Forbidden Broadway franchise so much fun — after all, one of the musicals being parodied, title of show, is in and of itself a parody and we now have a full-length number dedicated not to a show but a backstage gossip website, All That Chat (musicalized via Chicago's "All That Jazz"). But call me a cockeyed optimist, I think that even if the series will fade away, Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab, being one of the funniest and freshest installments to hit the itty-bitty stage of the 47th Street Theater, is going to extend for at least a little while past the announced closing date.
The show doesn't need a crystal ball gazing cockeyed optimist like yours truly to insure its success for as long as it runs — not with Christina Bianco as South Pacific's own Kelly O'Hara. She and Jared Bradshaw's Paulo Szot drink toasts to each other from ever bigger champagne goblets, and Kreiezmar and Michael West wind up this hilarious scene as the debonair Emile's native children.
Other deservedly big applause getters. Topping the list is the scene from a non-musical, Equus in which the much anticipated strip tease by Daniel Radcliff has him metamorphose into Gypsy's Louise. It's brilliantly executed by Bardshaw. Michael West raps riotously as Lin-Manuel Miranda of In the Heights.Another winner, is an extended take on Spring Awakening with Bianco and Bradshaw as Wendla and Melchior, Kreiezmar as the all-purpose adult female and Michael West as the wild-haired Moritz.
While Equus is a riot, another straight play, the prestigious August: Osage County, is one of the few somewhat weak links in an otherwise bulls eye hitting show. And, as has been usual for quite a while, Disney comes in for the most put-downs.
With so many witty lyrics I should resist quoting them to avoid weakening their punch to your funny bone, but I'll cave in with a sampling just a few tidbits for you:
Paulo Szot explaining South Pacific's second time around success. . .
Some endangered species
Like the singing drama
May give you a trauma inside a crowded room
But people still go
They go even when
They've heard these old standars again and again
And from the "cockeyed ingenue" Kelly. . .
Who can explain why
Oscar was so wise
From Mama Rose a la Patti. . .
Honey, ev'rything's coming out Patti!
I can do it
And I'll make people stand
I'll get through it
And take the scen'ry and chew it!
And from the erstwhile Harry Potter. . .
Girls don't ask their mama
To see a classic drama
They come to see my butt
As always, the costumes credited to the late and super-talented Alvin Colt, with additions by David Moyer, are major contributors to the fun. Whether for the first or umpteenth time, leave it to the daily headlines to make you sober, and get thee into Forbidden Broadway's Rehab for a barrel of laughs.
In the Heights
Playbill 2007-08 Yearbook
Leonard Maltin's 2008 Movie Guide