Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Stage

Everyone and everything's a target in Stage West's 'Forbidden Broadway'

SPRING HILL — You might think the musical Forbidden Broadway got its name because it's risque and raunchy.

Naaaahhhhh.

"It's called 'forbidden' because it makes fun of directors, actors, everyone," said Myndee Washington, who is directing the version opening Jan. 16 at Stage West Community Playhouse.

And, as we all know, stage divas (and divos) are famous for "forbidding" any denigration of their talent or performances.

But, like its cousin Saturday Night Live, Forbidden Broadway skewers them all, with parodies and put-downs of Broadway's best — and it's done so with astounding success through 19 versions (it's regularly updated when new shows debut) since 1982.

Critics love it. And even though it's spent its life off-Broadway, it's gotten loads of special recognition, including the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre award in 2006 and Time magazine's No. 1 musical of 2012. It's been done more than 9,000 times in 200 cities and on four continents.

Stage West is doing one of the earlier versions of the show, Greatest Hits, Vol 1.

"It goes back as far as Hello, Dolly!, with a Carol Channing spoof, and Fiddler (on the Roof)," both launched in 1964, Washington said.

The newest show in it is 2003's Wicked, where the song Defying Gravity becomes Defying Subtlety.

Don't worry if you haven't seen every Broadway show mentioned.

"The shows (spoofed) are iconic, and these are the iconic scenes in the shows," Washington said, making them easily recognizable.

They include comedy takes on Ethel Merman and Liza Minnelli and shows such as Mamma Mia!, Hairspray and Les Miserables, which recently played at Stage West.

"Everyone who saw Les Mis will find those sequences hilarious," Washington said. "Victoria (Primosch) will do somewhat of a reprisal of her (role as) Fantine," the abused factory worker who gives her daughter Cosette to hero Jean Valjean.

The show has six players instead of the scripted four, "mainly because it's written for a smaller stage, and we have a whole lotta stage here," Washington said. And there is a three-piece combo instead of the traditional single piano, for the same reason.

"They have costume changes for every number," Washington said. "Every actor has at least seven costumes. My (backstage) dressers are going to be working the hardest."

The director recommends the show for ages 14 and older, not because it's bawdy, but "simply because I don't think younger kids will get the humor," she said.

There are a few off-color words, she said, but "it's not inappropriate or anything we would be embarrassed about."

Even though the show parodies Broadway musicals, it doesn't take a Broadway insider to enjoy it.

"We have some top-notch performers. … Our performers are so high quality, it makes (the show) fabulous," she said.

Besides the multi-HAMI award-winning Ms. Primosch (Roxie in Chicago, Lost in Yonkers), the cast also has HAMI winners Keith Meccia (Arsenic and Old Lace), Anthony Cromartie (Mary Sunshine in Chicago) and Mitchell Gonzalez (Roger DeBris in The Producers), as well as Tori Razzano and newcomer Monalisa Patterson.

Washington directed the musical comedy Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks (her all-time favorite show), performed in The Music Man ensemble, is a costume consultant for the Patel Conservatory at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, is a finalist for Broadway.com's Best Costume Design award for her work for The Tempest at Patel, and teaches music at Suncoast Elementary School in Spring Hill.

The show is about two hours long, including intermission.

Comments
Review: American Stage hits ‘The Producers’ out of the park

Review: American Stage hits ‘The Producers’ out of the park

ST. PETERSBURG — Without question, Mel Brooks’ The Producers carved a more indelible mark than most of the musicals in the entire genre of throwaway musicals it parodied.The creator of Get Smart and Blazing Saddles not only co-wrote the adaptation of...
Published: 04/23/18
The Holocaust connection that makes the Florida Orchestra’s Verdi ‘Requiem’ concert special

The Holocaust connection that makes the Florida Orchestra’s Verdi ‘Requiem’ concert special

The Florida Orchestra puts another exclamation point on its 50th season with Verdi’s Requiem, this weekend’s concert series, a major presentation of an iconic work. Composed by Giuseppe Verdi, Requiem debuted in 1874 but took on a new layer of signif...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Freefall flavors 2018-2019 season with comedies and a pair of musicals

Freefall flavors 2018-2019 season with comedies and a pair of musicals

ST. PETERSBURG — In the coming season, Freefall Theatre is rolling out a world premiere, a different take on Christmas, a sharp comedy and a recent work by Pulitzer winner Lynn Nottage. The theme for the 2018-2019 season, "A Brighter Tomorrow," color...
Published: 04/19/18
Desi Oakley savors pie making in ‘Waitress,’ orchestra does Verdi’s Requiem

Desi Oakley savors pie making in ‘Waitress,’ orchestra does Verdi’s Requiem

HEAD WAITRESS: DESI OAKLEYThe blue collar mother who drives the plot of Waitress never thought she could win a pie-making contest, let alone start a business."She doesn’t even have the capacity to understand that she could do this," said Desi Oakley,...
Published: 04/18/18
American Stage sets the table for a splashy park musical ‘The Producers’

American Stage sets the table for a splashy park musical ‘The Producers’

ST. PETERSBURG ­— Think early evening, daylight saving version. The earth turning away, light fading in Demens Landing Park — everywhere except the stage, which is trying its best to resurrect midday. "It looks like New York City at nigh...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Brooksville’s Live Oak Theatre presents ‘ReUnKnighted,’ a medieval misadventure

Brooksville’s Live Oak Theatre presents ‘ReUnKnighted,’ a medieval misadventure

BROOKSVILLE — How about a story about two knights who gain their knighthood, lose it, then gain it back, only to lose it again?That was the concept Kyle Marra pitched nearly three years ago to Randi Olsen, founder and creative director for the Live O...
Published: 04/17/18
Bilingual ‘In the Time of the Butterflies’ shines a light on brutal regime

Bilingual ‘In the Time of the Butterflies’ shines a light on brutal regime

TAMPA — Tampa made its cigars with indispensable help from Cuban immigrants. Today, 22 percent of the population is of Hispanic origin, as defined by the U.S. Census. The Tampa Bay area has increasingly and proudly defined itself as a thriving perfor...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Review: ‘I’ll Be Back’ at Stage West mixes creepy with shocking

Review: ‘I’ll Be Back’ at Stage West mixes creepy with shocking

The murder mystery/thriller I’ll Be Back Before Midnight is loaded with potential. Playwright Peter Colley’s spooky, sometimes creepy, script has lots of surprises, scary moments and a few jokes to break the tension.And the production at Stage West C...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Review: ‘Menopause the Musical’ brings the heat to Show Palace in Hudson

For years, Show Palace Dinner Theatre patrons have begged owners Vicki and Tommy Marasciullo to bring Menopause the Musical to their Hudson venue. To be sure, the longtime showbiz couple wanted to, and the 400+ sold-out crowd opening night, followed ...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18
Monthly dessert theatre opens at CARES

Monthly dessert theatre opens at CARES

NEW PORT RICHEY — A collaborative agreement between CARES (Community Aging and Retirement Services) and local entertainer Jimmy Ferraro will bring Jimmy Ferraro’s Dessert Theatre, a series of monthly variety shows, to the CARES Elfers Center stage, 4...
Published: 04/16/18