If you enjoy Broadway musicals and hilarious satire, you will get a healthy dose of both of these in Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits at Act II Playhouse. This show is the “best of the best.” Not only is it a spoof of Broadway shows, but it also has a phenomenal cast, and it is set in the intimate setting of Act II Playhouse, which works as the perfect setting for this cabaret style show. This production of Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits at Act II Playhouse tackles the best and brightest of Broadway with vigor and enthusiasm.
Forbidden Broadway was conceived by Gerard Alessandrini in the early 1980s. This show is designed to be a satirical, cabaret style review. Alessandrini has rewritten the show numerous times over the years parodying Broadway musicals. The show, Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits, combines the funniest and most well-known moments from the show. This show is perfectly suited for Act II Playhouse; this intimate theatre allows the energy of the four-person cast to permeate throughout the house to draw the audience into this witty show.
Under the direction of Tony Braithwaite, the characters and performances come through vividly in Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits. The cast of this show are skilled in bringing to life the caricatures of many of Broadway’s personalities, and this cast’s impersonations are spot-on. As a whole, this cast works well together in their parodies of shows such as Les Misérables and Rent. Each of the performers in this production are also incredible in their individual performances while rapturously making light of the foibles of show business. Tony Braithwaite expertly incarnates Carol Channing in a number where he satirizes Channing as being in every revival of Hello, Dolly! He takes on the mannerisms and aspects of Channing and lovingly pokes fun at her career. This number will have audiences raucously laughing. Jeffrey Coon takes on The Phantom of the Opera as he melodically conveys how today‘s performers work with technologies that amplify sound and modulate the voice. Coon is hilarious as he whips around the Phantom’s cape and sings lyrics such as, “When the song's a bitch/And I'm slightly under pitch/They just flick the reverb switch/From left to right." Tracie Higgins is hysterical as Liza Minnelli. Higgins affectionately parodies Liza as she highlights Liza’s personality in “Liza One Note.” Elena Camp soars in the parody of Wicked, “Defying Subtlety.” This is a number Wicked fans will adore, and Camp is outstanding in this number. Lastly, Sonny Leo serves as the musical director and choreographer for this show. In addition, Leo also performs a number satirizing Cats. It is always a pleasure seeing Leo’s emotive expressions and antics, and this shines through in his number, “I Enjoy Being a Cat.” If you are familiar with musicals or even if you appreciate a good parody then you are sure to love Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits at Act II Playhouse.
Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits at Act II Playhouse has been extended until June 28, 2015. For more information and tickets visit their website at www.act2.org or call the box office at (215) 654-0200.
Photo Credit: Mark Garvin
Final Thought: Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits is an entertaining, hilarious and lovingly satirical tribute to Broadway musicals and its stars. The energy and zeal of this cast permeates through the audience to create a memorable and hysterical night of theatre.
Kelli Curtin is editor and writer for theatresensation.com. In addition, she is a contributor for the online site broadwayworld.com. Kelli is excited to share her passion about theatre and the Arts with her readers. Kelli can be found on twitter @theatrescribe and on Facebook/theatresensation.