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picture - Forbidden Broadway Goes To RehabTheater Review

by Harvey Perr

published October 24, 2008


Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab

now playing Off Broadway at the 47th Street Theater

through January 15


The smartest Broadway critic is not who you think it is. It is Gerard Alessandrini, the creator of the Forbidden Broadway series, and the idea that his latest version, Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab, may, in fact, be his last, is the saddest news of the year. It would be an act of sheer perversity to contradict the unanimous praise that has been heaped upon this installment, and even more perverse to go where some of our wiser critics have ventured in extolling its complex virtues, so let me just add to the hurrahs by saying that you ain’t seen nothing till you’ve seen Gina Kreiemar, with a mere loosening and twisting of her upper lip, become Patti Lupone, or the way the same Ms. Kreiemar transmutes herself into the unstoppable Liza Minnelli, or the sight and glorious sound of Christina Bianco as she gleefully takes on the selling out of Kristin Chenowith in the withering “Glitter and Be Glib” (I’ll bet anything that if Barbara Cook saw Ms. Bianco do this, she’d laugh herself silly). Alessandri not only makes comic mincemeat out of the annual Broadway fare, with the help of his incredibly versatile performers, but, in his lyrics, proves to be as sharp a critic of what is really wrong (and occasionally right) with what we’re subjected to each season. Three satiric takes on Disney might seem redundant, but not as redundant as three Disney productions (and sometimes more) running simultaneously. And there are even times when Alessandri can be downright generous, without losing a bit of his clever wit, as in the case of Stephen Sondheim, and there may nothing in Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab as edifying as James Donegan’s eloquent handling of “Putting Up Revivals.” Even Sondheim would be moved. Michael West is the fourth member of the quartet of performers and he destroys, to a fine turn, Boyd Gaines (Gypsy), Lyn Manuel Miranda (In The Heights) and. most devilishly, James Barbour (A Tale of Two Cities). If you’re a Broadway baby, in any shape or form that you think being a Broadway baby takes, you miss this one at your own peril.


harveyperr @


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