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Forbidden Broadway—Alive and Kicking!

Jordan Leigh and Chad T. Reagan (spoof on Book of Mormon)
Jordan Leigh and Chad T. Reagan
(spoof on THE BOOK OF MORMON)
Photo: Terry Shapiro
Perhaps theatre critics have been taking the wrong approach all along. What if they simply used the stage, rather than the printed page, to jib and jab. They'd probably be cheered instead of jeered, and they might even win a few a awards in the process; at least, that is one of the lessons that could be drawn from this clever and funny revue now running at the Garner Galleria Theatre.

The Forbidden Broadway franchise, which began at Palsson's Supper Club on NYC's Upper West Side in 1982, has skewered just about everyone in the Who's Who in American theatre. Its latest incarnation is no exception.

Sarah Rex and Lauren Shealy (spoof on SOUND OF MUSIC TV special)
Sarah Rex and Lauren Shealy
(spoof on SOUND OF MUSIC TV special)
Photo: Terry Shapiro
One of the hallmarks of this ongoing satire of Broadway sacred cows is a showcase for incredible talent that excels in imitation and hyperbole, while demonstrating chops equal to those being lampooned—and this, too, is accomplished with a flourish by Sarah Rex, Lauren Shealy, Chad T. Reagan, and Jordan Leigh.

Lauren Shealy and Jordan Leigh (spoof on ONCE)
Lauren Shealy and Jordan Leigh
(spoof on ONCE)
Photo: Terry Shapiro
The original lyrics (Gerard Alessandrini) to these Broadway favorites are clever and tart, and the highlights are too numerous to mention, but here are a few personal favorites:

Leigh and Shealy as the principals in ONCE, knocking the plot twists and turns that "create drama where there is none."

Shealy and Rex going toe to toe as Chita Rivera (CHITA'S BACK!) and Rita Moreno, to the tune of "America" from WEST SIDE STORY.

(Left to right) Jordan Leigh, Sarah Rex, and Chad T. Reagan (spoof on WICKED)
(Left to right) Jordan Leigh,
Sarah Rex, and Chad T. Reagan
(spoof on WICKED)
Photo: Terry Shapiro





















The ensemble roasting AVENUE Q to the tune of "You Gotta Get A Gimmick (puppet)" (from GYPSY).

Reagan's PHANTOM OF THE OPERA interrupted by Rex's Ethel Merman, who chides the Paris Opera House creature that in her day, no amplification was needed.

The extended barbs directed at LES MISERABLES all set around a series of turntable effects and a series of tours with no end in sight.

Cindy Lauper (Rex) and Harvey Fierstein (Reagan) mocking KINKY BOOTS and the tired Broadway formula for musical success.

Shealy's wonderful Southern drawl and sendup of Carrie Underwood's Maria in last year's NBC special, THE SOUND OF MUSIC.

Leigh's self-absorbed and self-indulgent Mandy Patinkin (MANDY PATINKIN: DRESS CASUAL).

Rex's Elphaba and Leigh's and Reagan's monkeys from WICKED.

Lauren Shealy (spoof on MARY POPPINS)
Lauren Shealy
(spoof on MARY POPPINS)
Photo: Terry Shapiro
Shealy's MARY POPPINS, in which she measures up to Julie Andrews, while mocking the absurdities of the story.

Rex as Frankie Valli, knocking the vacuous personalities of the JERSEY BOYS.

Reagan and Leigh laying it on Trey Parker and Matt Stone for their sophomoric vocabulary and mindset in THE BOOK OF MORMON.

Chad T. Reagan (spoof of THE LION KING)
Chad T. Reagan
(spoof of THE LION KING)
Photo: Terry Shapiro
Martha Yordy (Musical Director) is fabulous on the 88s.

Alvin Colt's costume designs are a hoot. Some of the costume changes are incredible for their speed and complexity.

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts' presentation of Forbidden Broadway—Alive & Kicking! runs through March 1st. For tickets: 800-641-1222 or denvercenter.org.

Bob Bows

 

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