"Forbidden B'way"/You-Review-It

April 14, 2008
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So what did you do this weekend? Hear the Earth Harp at the IMA or the slew of country stars at the Fairgrounds? Discover “Black Gold” at the Phoenix?

My weekend included the national tour of “Forbidden Broadway” at Clowes Hall, which proved both entertaining and a bit baffling. At its best (particularly in the “Les Mis” section) the laughs were big and the teeth sharp. The FB folks know New York theater inside and out and skewer it in ways that go way below the surface.

My bafflement came from wondering who thought anyone would enjoy a lengthy sketch taking shots at the barely remembered show “Lennon,” which only played for one month in 2005. Probably the same person who thought to stage this four-performer revue with only two stand-up microphones. And maybe that’s the same person who put images from “Wicked” on the poster without having a single reference in the show itself.

IBJ reader Doug Lippert e-mailed me on the latter note, saying “I am always frustrated when a production is not as promised.  In the case of 'Forbidden Broadway,' I was specifically looking forward to the spoof of 'Wicked,' one of my favorite musicals.  Promotional material, as I recall, specifically mentioned ‘Wicked’ as one of the shows at which the cast would take some pot shots.  But, it never happened and its absence might explain the weak second act.”

Feel free to chime in with your thoughts on “Forbidden Broadway” or whatever you saw, heard or otherwise experienced this weekend.
  • I left Clowes Hall Saturday night undecided about Forbidden Broadway. There were six in our group, and while everyone enjoyed it, I don't think any of us were over the top with it, we too waited for something from Wicked. Not only did the single microphone drive us crazy, but so did the lighting. It seemed like the spots were always trying to catch up with the performers. There was discussion among us that perhaps the sound and lighting were part of the act.
  • I thought the show was extremly entertaining. Four very talented people (plus the pianist) worked very hard to put forth a fun and enjoyable presentation. So some shows panned were not popluar, they did a great job. Those leaving their seats empty by not whowing missed a fun evening at a great venue.
  • My nephew and I both enjoyed the first half, but thought the second half was weak. We were also baffled by the Lennon references, the ignoring of Wicked, and the microphone issues. All in all an enjoyable evening - the actors and pianist were good, and an attaboy to the costume designer (I wonder how many actual costume changes occurred?) The Les Mis section was great!
  • My mom and I saw Forbidden Broadway in New York about 8 years ago or so, and the focus was mostly on the biggies (i.e. Phantom, Cats, Fiddler, etc.). It was incredible and hilarious.
  • With the total of 9 microphones on stage, you would think that it would sound better. There were actually 4 on the stage, the flat ones that you can't see and tend to pick up more foot stomping than voices. There were 3 above, more designed for a large choir or band. And the two on stands. I was sitting in the center of row N, and sometimes we would get blasted by the sound, and other times we had to strain to hear. All this high-tech stuff, and we still get the feeling that we need to clean our ears out, that's not right.

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