For theater fans, seeing "Forbidden Broadway" back on the boards feels like all's right with the world again. It's been too long but the years have only enhanced Gerard Alessandrini's signature sendup of Broadway. Armed with new material, a fabulous cast and a fresh coat of greasepaint, his "Forbidden Broadway the Next Generation" mercilessly and hysterically takes on the sacred cows on the Great and sometimes not so great White Way.
With its immense playlist of songs, "Moulin Rouge" becomes "Moulin Rude," spoofing the latest trend of jukebox musicals on Broadway.
And the company has a blast skewering the stage versions of popular films, from "Beetlejuice" to "Frozen's" Elsa played by Aline Mayagoitia, turning “Let it go” into “Overblown.”
In addition to Gerard's genius for writing and directing, he's supremely skilled at casting. His incredibly versatile company of five immensely gifted performers master the comedy and the singing with effortless grace on that stage. And that does include young Joshua Turchin—a triple threat well beyond his 13 years.
Among my favorite sketches: Jenny Lee Stern as Judy Garland griping about all the films depicting her life. And partnered with Chris Collins-Pisano, they’ve got all the right moves, taking on Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon.
It seems there’s no end to the cleverness. Alessandrini pairs Lin-Manuel Miranda and Immanuel Houston as Billy Porter taking a jab at inclusivity in their shows.
And watch as veterans Bette Midler, Bernadette Peters and Jennifer Holiday pitch comeback ideas. “Hello Dolly Madison” anyone?
Of course, “Fiddler” in Yiddish was just asking for it. And how can anyone see “Oklahoma” again without thinking of it as “Woke-lahoma.”
Of course, it helps to be familiar with most of the shows, but it’s not really necessary. A love of theater and an appreciation for Broadway caliber talent is all that you need.