The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings







Etcetera and
Short Term Listings


NYC Restaurants


New Jersey







Free Updates
A CurtainUp Review
Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab

Forbidden Broadway
Christina Bianco and Jared Bradshaw
(Photo: Carol Rosegg)
It's hard to believe that Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab is likely to be not just the latest edition of Gerard Alessandrini's long-running Broadway show spoof, but the last. Yet, according to Alessandrini, the current production is indeed his swan song and the show will shutter in January instead of continuing as an open ended run that will pause just long enough for an update with a new title.

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.

Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab
Gina Kreiezmar as Gypsy's Mama Rose in Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab
(Photo: Carol Rosegg)
The foursome starring in the current edition is fabulous, whether in solos, duets or full ensemble numbers poking fun at the shows lighting up the marquee. The especially fabulous Gina Kreizemar manages to somehow make even the already frequently spoofed Liza Minelli sequence come off as a fresh as hand-squeezed orange juice show stopper. Kreizemar, who reminds me of longtime Forbidden Broadway regular, Christine Pedi, has pitch-perfect comic timing and, as her sublime take on Patti LuPone's Mama Rose proves, she isn't afraid to look less than gorgeous. What makes Kreizemar, as well as Christina Bianco, so terrific is that they happen to really have the vocal chops worthy of the divas they're satirizing.

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.

Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab
Created and written by Gerard Alessandrini
Directed by Alessandrini and Phillip George
Cast: Christina Bianco, Jared Bradshaw, Gina Kreiezmar and Michael West
Pianist: David Caldwell
Sets: Megan K. Halpern
Costumes: Alvin Colt with additional costumes by David Moyer
Lighting: Mark T. Simpson
Musical direction: David Caldwell
Stage manager: Jim Griffith
Running Time: 1 hr. 45 minutes, includes intermission
47th Street Theatre 304 West 47th Street (212) 239-6200
from 6/28/08; opening 9/17/08; closing 1/15/09
Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, Sundays at 7:30 PM with matinees Wednesdays at 2 PM, Saturdays at 4 PM and Sundays at 3 PM. Tickets: $;60-65
Reviewed by Elyse Sommer 9/15/08
Highlight one of the responses below and click "copy" or"CTRL+C"
  • I agree with the review of Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab
  • I disagree with the review of Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab
  • The review made me eager to see Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab
Click on the address link E-mail:
Paste the highlighted text into the subject line (CTRL+ V):

Feel free to add detailed comments in the body of the email.

South Pacific  Revival
South Pacific

In the Heights
In the Heights

Playbill 2007-08 Yearbook

Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide
Leonard Maltin's 2008 Movie Guide


©Copyright 2008, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from