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My boyfriend hates musicals. But he loved Forbidden Broadway, the current production at the Cosmopolitan Cabaret. Why? It makes fun of musicals, with hilarious reinventions of well-known show tunes and wickedly clever commentary on all things Broadway.
Like “Monty Python” or “Saturday Night Live,” the show is built on snarky skits and a certain twisted point of view. In particular, it takes aim at the vapid commercialization and Disney-fication of Broadway. In its laugh-packed parade of parodies, you’ll hear riotously revamped versions of songs from a long list of shows including Jersey Boys, Les Miserables, The Lion King, West Side Story, Phantom of the Opera and Annie. Along the way, there are also some wildly funny impersonations of Broadway stars such as Robert Goulet (who, in this spoof, forgets the lyrics and rambles aimlessly from one song to the next), Carol Channing, Ethel Merman and Sarah Brightman (announced as “the ex-Mrs. Andrew Lloyd Webber”).
A show like this would never work without an enormously talented cast, and this one is couldn’t be better. The team of two men and two women—Marc Ginsburg, Jerry Lee, Jessica Reiner-Harris and Melissa Wolfklain—not only have mind-blowingly powerful voices, but are incredible comedic actors. Their exaggerated, over-the-top performances lift the already-funny material through the roof, and their energy is phenomenal. The show’s pacing is nonstop, and they zipped through their many outrageous costume changes faster than Cher.
Directed with great flair by William Selby and featuring the very capable piano of Graham Sobelman, who serves as musical director, Forbidden Broadway is every bit as good as anything I saw on Broadway during my 13 years in the Big Apple. Don’t just sit there: Go!
What: Forbidden Broadway
When: Through March 18
Where: Cosmopolitan Cabaret, 1000 K St., Sacramento: (916) 557-1999
Cost: Tickets $33 to $48