Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging! Davenport Theatre (see Off Broadway). By Gerard Alessandrini. Directed by Phillip George and Alessandrini. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 45mins. One intermission.
Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging!: In brief
Broadway's loyal opposition, Gerard Alessandrini, returns to skewer Pippin, Kinky Boots, Matilda, Motown and more in a new edition of his beloved satirical revue, which has ribbed the Great White Way since 1982.
Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging!: Theater review by Adam Feldman
Every Broadway season gets the Forbidden Broadway it deserves. Nearly each year since 1982, Gerard Alessandrini has fashioned a new edition of his affectionately acid-tongued parodic revue, sending up the Great White Way in comic numbers based on songs from the very shows he’s skewering. The series’s modus operandi is not unlike that of kung fu, in which one is said to use an opponent’s own strength against him. As such, it leaves Alessandrini in the precarious position—a fiddler on the spoof!—of depending on Broadway for material. When shows or stars have strong styles, good or bad, they lend themselves to parody; but they are harder to run down when, like most of this season’s offerings, they are planted in the middle of the road.
This may be why Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging!, while often funny, elicits more chuckles of agreement than guffaws of cathartic release. Among the more successful new bits are takedowns of Aladdin, Rocky, Bullets Over Broadway and the Carrie Underwood Sound of Music; the Once sequence, a holdover, is still hilarious (though the Book of Mormon one is still weirdly off-target). If no one in the cast pops into the sublime (like past standouts Christine Pedi, Christina Bianco and Jennifer Simard), the four able performers—Carter Calvert, Scott Richard Foster, Mia Gentile and Marcus Stevens—switch with admirable speed among characters and costumes (by Dustin Cross and Philip Heckman). And spotty though this edition may be, true Broadway lovers will not want to miss it. Imitation, here, is the sincerest form of battery.—Theater review by Adam Feldman
THE BOTTOM LINE A skilled marksman shoots at so-so targets.
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