Forbidden Broadway-The Next Generation

Gerard Alessandrini’s 37 year-old franchise is something like the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree: not as big, bright, or cheery as recalled, but still welcome. Who else would fearlessly, gleefully satirize theater? We open with a cliché tourist family singing “God, I Want to See It!” (Music- Chorus Line.) Where’s the mention of costume-attired aggressors in Times Square? Where’s a verse (or a song) on the ridiculously escalated price of tickets?

Some of this iteration is a snooze – Harry Potter’s “Magic for Two” to the tune of Pippin’s “Magic To Do”; Evan Has-Been (Evan Hansen) which dully praises overacting; Danny Burstein in “Swinging on A Chandelier” (Moulin Rouge). Tootsie’s appearance, a mere sight gag, rhymes no toe-tapper with twenty million down the crapper. “Diamonds Up My Wazoo” (Moulin Rude as opposed to Moulin Rouge) is vulgar as opposed to gleefully bitchy (a game Aline Mayagoitia who also shows up in Frozen).

Both Jenny Lee Stern and Chris Collins-Pisano

Spot-on segments include, in part, “There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This!” (music- Sweet Charity), with ersatz Bette Midler (Jenny Lee Stern), Jennifer Holliday (Immanuel Houston), and Bernadette Peters (Mayagoitia); Judy Garland (Stern) Zellweger Smells in My Part (Zing Went the Strings of My Heart); and a Fosse/Verdon medley that makes up for specifics – where’s womanizing? drugs? – with fun, well executed choreography. (Stern and Chris Collins-Pisano). Collins-Pisano is also a terrific Beetlejuice – loud, gravelly, crass, uninhibited.

Fiddler’s “Translation!” (instead of “Tradition!”) is a hoot as is “Brush Up Your Yiddish!” (“Brush Up Your Shakespeare”) with Collins-Pisano and Houston. Jeremy Pope in Ain’t Too Proud misses an opportunity to distinguish the artist’s two shows with their very different choreography – where’s the stomping? (Houston). Lin-Manuel Miranda and Billy Porter (Collins-Pisano and Houston) make an incisive point about going overboard with inclusivity. Wokelahoma is a one trick pony, plus a bloody sight gag.

Immanuel Houston and Chris Collins-Pisano

Gerry McIntyre’s Choreography works wonderfully. Energy is high. Only very young Joshua Turchin seems unable to hold his own.

Costumes are two-thirds swell and one-third tacky (bad tacky not good tacky). Women’s body suits are all wrong.

If you haven’t seen most of these shows, this will make much less sense to you. If you have however, I can tell you the audience had a good time.

Photos by Carol Rosegg
Opening: Immanuel Houston (standing), Aline Mayagoitia, Jenny Lee Stern, Joshua Turchin and Chris Collins-Pisano

Forbidden Broadway-The Next Generation
Created, Written and Directed by Gerard Alessandrini
Fred Barton-Piano
Choreography- Gerry McIntyre
The Triad
158 West 72nd Street

About Alix Cohen (688 Articles)
Alix Cohen is the recipient of eight New York Press Club Awards for work published on this venue. Her writing history began with poetry, segued into lyrics and took a commercial detour while holding executive positions in product development, merchandising, and design. A cultural sponge, she now turns her diverse personal and professional background to authoring pieces about culture/the arts with particular interest in artists/performers and entrepreneurs. Theater, music, art/design are lifelong areas of study and passion. She is a voting member of Drama Desk and Drama League. Alix’s professional experience in women’s fashion fuels writing in that area. Besides Woman Around Town, the journalist writes for Cabaret Scenes, Broadway World, and Theater Pizzazz. Additional pieces have been published by The New York Post, The National Observer’s Playground Magazine, Pasadena Magazine, Times Square Chronicles, and ifashionnetwork. She lives in Manhattan. Of course.