FORBIDDEN BROADWAY
Directed & Choreographed by Karla Kash
StageWest Theatre Co
Des Moines, IA

 

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
3929326899_41e86d7c96
3929315163_99b31ed3ce
3930270348_566b51f12d
3929347891_916e744124
3929082509_57352c731e
3929112901_233a2c672f
3929122093_c6e472fa1a
3929131767_25cba0aa80
3930323402_3f06102e69
3929153281_68b14c6d0c
3929295595_3ea11d8b72
3929374299_afc1044e12
3929406745_946acf9557
3929463279_2f8affeb52
3929476085_f601b4170a
3929485927_76535f1360
3929541597_28cba008c1
3929545637_8cfedeae75
3929551327_9b5fcf9709
3929554561_929b0477d1
3929879417_8d94412011
3929897898_3640b85bc2
3929901689_ce96901cc2
3929907111_00e13b7cf5
3929926419_cd43be86ee
3929931522_760f92103d
3929943516_16633ce435
3929994385_c81e778c2a
3930124976_44d154cd65
3930145916_20e61ac32b
3930150356_1f4ffb6e96
3930261986_2278c5ab97
3930263460_d25d5a3a2f
3930272706_b4d0474dcc
3930281670_390bd59b85
3930294950_afe5078ab4
3930712954_bc96fa0404
3930722650_42f823a079
3930770948_44f15eabc3

Reviews


By MICHAEL MORAIN | The Des Moines Register | September 22, 2009

 

Giant green posters on the north wall and main entrance of the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines trumpet the arrival of “Wicked” later this week.

 

But there’s mischief brewing just around the corner, in the center’s Stoner Theater, where StageWest’s production of “Forbidden Broadway” runs through Oct. 4. The rowdy musical revue, directed by Karla Kash, pokes fun at some of the very shows that will parade across the main stage this season, including “Rent” and a certain song-and-dance extravaganza about a certain high-flying, green-skinned witch.

 

In the deliberately low-budget “Forbidden” version, she grabs a broom and crawls up on a milk crate, her cape billowing in the wind from an electric fan. The scene is funny enough on paper, in the script by Gerard Allessandrini, but it gets a big boost on stage by the booming vocal talent and aerobic endurance of the cast. The four local actors manage to sing and dance and change costumes and fling themselves across the stage for two hours, skewering some of the best – and worst – of more than 20 Broadway hits.

 

Amy Burgmaier, who plays the witch, plays Annie, too, with a red Afro, a cigarette and a markedly grumpier attitude for “(I’m 30 years old) Tomorrow.” She also gives the old razzle-dazzle to a tune from “Chicago,” the show in which she starred four years ago at the Des Moines Playhouse.

 

Liz Ward channels Carol Channing, with a deep raspy voice and a mouth as big as a mule’s. She’s just as brassy later as Ethel Merman, who does a soft-shoe routine with the Phantom of the Opera, and as Liza Minelli, who careens around the stage in a drug-induced fit. (It’s wicked, with a lower-case “w” – and hilarious.)

 

The roles for the show’s two men, Craig Petersen and Eric Shepard, aren’t quite as juicy, but the actors make the most of their turns in the spotlight. Petersen lays it on thick as Mandy Patinkin, with an extravagantly high falsetto, and Shepard stretches out on the floor as one of the “Cats,” luxuriating in the peculiar thrill of his fur-lined body-stocking.

 

Through it all, the unflappable Ben Hagen accompanies the action from the piano, switching from “Les Misérables” to “Mamma Mia!” without missing a beat. His skill, with music direction by Paul Dieke, elevates the show from an extended “Saturday Night Live”-style skit into an actual concert.

 

“Forbidden Broadway” first opened in 1982 in New York and ran continuously until March of this year. It employed more than 2,000 actors over the years, including before-they-were-famous Denzel Washington, Nicole Kidman and Renee Zellweger. The actors they skewered occasionally showed up in the audience, but they were good sports; nobody sued.

Savor the sweet taste of ‘Forbidden’ fruit

By John Busbee,  Culture Buzz

 

Des Moines, Iowa Finally, Greater Des Moines can experience what decades of Big Apple Broadway fans have gorged themselves on: Forbidden Broadway. This is a show packed with delectably acerbic low-hanging fruit which can be enjoyed by all, and truly savored by those familiar with the Broadway shows which comprise this fulfilling feast. However, enough of the consumable quips, lest I flow into Biblical references.

 

There are times when necessity leaps into livelihood, and such was the case when unemployed actor, Gerard Alessandrini, wanted to showcase his talents in 1982. Doing what virtually anyone who has performed musical theatre has imagined and even done – parodying Broadway shows – he assembled his musical parodies of Broadway shows he loved and loathed into a nightclub act. Critics and audiences were wowed, and it has since become New York’s longest running musical comedy revue. Forbidden Broadway has won Drama Desk, Obie and Outer Critics Circle awards. It has grown to the point where if a star or cast isn’t lampooned, it’s reverse rejection. Ah, how America loves lampooning, especially when honed to razor-wit sharpness.

 

StageWest showcases the sterling abilities of a gifted quartet of multi-talented performers in its season-opening production of Forbidden. Eric Shepard, Liz Ward, Craig Petersen, and Amy Burgmaier quickly whisk us into the warped and witty world of skewed characters, stars and scenes that Forbidden presents. Limber your laugh muscles before attending this show, because they will get a hearty workout!

 

As the official Web site boasts, Forbidden is all about poking, prodding, teasing, pleasing, jeering and cheering, but always with love. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you’ll most assuredly grin and guffaw your way through the variety of shows parodied with a raucous reality and enthusiasm. From older standards (Hello, Dolly!, Annie and Les Miserables) to current shows (Wicked and Rent), these performers know there stuff, and deliver many knock-out performances during the evening.

 

While difficult to find highlights in a show filled with them, some favorites stand out in this reviewer’s mind. The image of Burgmaier complete with white-collared, red dress, red curly hair and cigarette hanging from her lips will be forever burned in many minds, as a way-over-the-hill Annie bemoans turning thirty. In another scene, Petersen’s voice soars into the stratosphere as Mandy Patinkin, then later when featured in a cut from Spamalot. Newcomer Shepard exudes feline dexterity during his number from Cats. And, the chameleon-esque Ward morphs from Carol Channing to Liza Minnelli to other fantastic, unique persona, belting with a Broadway power that reflects her probable destination.

 

Director/Choreographer Karla Kash assembled this marvelous cast, pushing them through a quick-paced show that especially challenges the cast and crew with its lightening fast costume changes. Kash fills the song and stage with movement evoking the specters of these Broadway shows, and her cast delivers some wonderful physicality in their work. Venerable Music Director Paul Dieke notches another fine show for his continually expanding career, undoubtedly pushing his cast to reach and push to achieve the 100% commitment this type of show demands.

 

One of the under-sung heroes is rehearsal and performance pianist Ben Hagen, listed under the cast bios, but not under the company recognition page of the playbill. Hagen keeps the music on pace, even with occasional rushing of tempos by the ensemble. All quickly returns to sync thanks to his firm musical guidance. Also deserving recognition are Scenic Designer Casey L. Gradischnig, Lighting Designer Ron Gilbert, Costume Designer Emily Ganfield, Properties Designer Joy Kripal,and Wig Stylist extraordinaire Cindy Hummel. This team wraps the show up in a wonderful visual package.

 

StageWest’s Forbidden Broadway is one of the most dynamic and talent-laden productions to be seen in this region for some time. Get your ticket now, for, as Mark Twain once said, “There is a charm about the forbidden that makes it unspeakably desirable.” Absolutely, soulfully and decadently delicious!

Share!
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • email