I like to consider myself a somewhat seasoned theater-goer. Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa was like a second home. If there is an opportunity to attend, I take it. In the last three weeks, I’ve been to two ballets and a musical and I soaked up every second of it. When I heard that Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking, a fall-down funny musical roast of Broadway, was in town, I jumped at the chance to go. This was the opportunity to test my Broadway knowledge while enjoying theater entertainment. With references to the long-running Mary Poppins, Wicked, and Jersey Boys and dead-on impressions of popular actors like Philip Seymour Hoffman and Al Pacino, even new theater lovers would catch the jokes. The references to Porgy and Bess, Anything Goes, Nice Work If You Can Get It, and Once might have required a more seasoned ear. Even though I didn’t see all of the productions, I still found the show hilarious, the costumes outrageous, and the cast stellar. It was packed with laughs and singing, comic chameleons.
One of the most hysterical skits included a dancing, singing duo of Lion King performers. The singing, the props, the headpieces… the entire audience was in uproar. The obvious, massive headpieces were the brunt of most Lion King jokes and the neck braces were over-the-top props that really drove the point home.
Equally funny was the satire of Philip Seymour Hoffman and Al Pacino. If I closed my eyes, I could actually see Philip Seymour Hoffman on stage, although maybe just a tad bit exaggerated. The voice and actions were a home-run; I don’t know how they managed to keep a straight face. That’s the part that impresses me the most.
The Book of Mormon is sent up as The Book of Morons, and had me in stitches laughing even though I haven’t seen the real production. The actually show will arrive in Charlotte on December 26th and tickets would be a great Christmas gift for anyone in my family paying attention right now. Watching Forbidden Broadway has ironically heightened my desire to see it.
I was expecting lots of laughs and inside jokes, and my expectations were met, but I was pleasantly surprised that even someone who has never seen a Broadway performance could still enjoy the show. The talented cast and quirky costumes were funny on their own, even if you didn’t get the punchline. The next time I experience one of the satirized productions, I’ll have a difficult time looking at it seriously. Forbidden Broadway is well named, Alive and Kicking.