I guess I hadn’t read the invitation on Facebook all that closely, because I genuinely thought it was the original show from Broadway, Forbidden Broadway which was playing at Statement Bar.
Pretty soon after arriving, Colin and I got the vibe that it was, however, an amateur production, or at least something pro-am.
We were worried for a moment because both of us really love Forbidden Broadway. Colin has seen the show a few times, and I am familiar with the material through the CDs.
In essence, Forbidden Broadway is a fairly biting satire of musicals and musical theatre.
In the publicity, tonight’s show was described as…
A wry spoof of the greatest Broadway shows, characters and stars of the last 40 years, where else can you see the likes of Bebe Neuwirth, Stephen Sondheim, Carol Channing, Chita Rivera, Rita Moreno, Idina Menzel, Mandy Patinkin, Liza Minelli, Barbara Streisand, Harvey Fierstein and John Travolta all under one roof (and for one low price!)
Of the work I’ve heard on CD, a particular favourite has been their parody of Mamma Mia…
On the West End it looked ridiculous
here in New York it’s meticulous, deep and smart, an equivalent to high art
For a moment we were a little disappointed that it “wasn’t the real thing”, as we were incorrectly expecting. And it was just a moment, because as soon as they came on, we realised soon this production was genuinely bloody good.
With strong performances, split-second costume changes, the four-member cast worked together really well, under what appeared to be very good direction.
Speaking of which, we got to talking with a woman sitting next to us in the front row. She had travelled down from Newcastle, she told us, because her grandson was the director, Jay. She entertained us with some lovely stories about how he had been directing plays since childhood, and how she had helped with costumes. A particular favourite story was how she had created a seven-foot-tall “bong” for a production he directed last year called, “Reefer Madness”. “What a groover”, we both thought.
I’m not sure how much you would need to know about musical theatre to appreciate the show, as there are a lot of “in jokes”. The “Liza Minelli” routine worked especially well, even if you weren’t completely aware of all her work.
And even if you didn’t know all that much, I suspect it would still be enjoyable as a night of fun and music.
It’s on at the Statement Bar for just two weeks. Tickets through Moshtix.