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Forbidden Broadway was just what the doctor ordered for me the other night – I haven’t laughed so hard in ages.

The renowned Broadway institution (going since 1982) has been slightly Anglicised and specially tailored for the West End in 2014 – Cameron Mackintosh, Elaine Paige, Robert Lindsay and revivals of Evita and Cats be warned (you’re now caught in the transatlantic cross-hairs along with Idina Menzel, Kristen Chenoweth, Hugh Jackman, Mandy Patinkin, Chita Rivera and Rita Moreno – no bad company) – with terrifically funny, tongue-in-cheek results.

And, while everyone but the God that is Stephen Sondheim gets mercilessly lampooned, I do believe it’s done with affection and bucketloads of goodwill. (The West End opening night at the Vaudeville was filled the rafters with many of the show targets and they didn’t seem to mind.)

The end result is to make me want to go back and visit anew many of these musical friends, and on a serious note, save them and all of our theatre-loving souls from the greedy corporate clutches that the company warns against with its rendition of Cabaret‘s Nazi theme, “The Future Belongs to Me”. Take action.

In the West End, original Menier Chocolate Factory cast members Anna-Jane Casey, Ben Lewis and Damian Humbley are joined by YouTube sensation Christina Bianco (all excellent). Forbidden Broadway is created and written by Gerard Alessandrini, directed and choreographed by Phillip George.

With the permission of the producers, I share below some of my favourite Forbidden musical moments….



The Lion King

LionKing600_Forbidden Broadway by Gerard Alessandrini

AFRICAN BALONEY
BUT WE WON A LOT OF TONY
HIGH FALUTIN PUPPET SHOW
PUNCH AND JUDY HEAD TO TOE
PINNOCHIO

A STORY SO BIZARRI
IT’S HAMLET GO SAFARI
I GOT A LOT OF MAKEUP ON
JOHNNY JOHNNY ELTON JOHN…

CAN YOU FEEL THE PAIN TONIGHT?
THE STRAIN THIS HEADDRESS BRINGS?
THE CRACKING BONES
THE TEARING CARTILAGE
KILLS ALL LIVING THINGS.



Matilda600_Forbidden Broadway by Gerard Alessandrini

Matilda the Musical

Good morning children. I am your director Matthew Warchus Trunchbull. And I am here to break you into the mercilessly cruel world of British children’s musicals. Now, audiences think that you are funny, cute little triple threats. You are not triple threats, you are vermin! Vermin with Oliviers.

WE ARE EXPLOITED CHILDREN
LIVING IN EXPLOITING TIMES
WE SING EXHAUSTING SONGS WHOOOOAAAAAHHH….
WE USE EXPLICIT RHYMES

WE ARE EXPLOITED CHILDREN
HARD WORK IS NEVER FUN
THOUGH THE GROWN-UPS SAY THEY’RE DOTING
THEY’RE EXPLOITING

 


LesMis600_Forbidden Broadway by Gerard Alessandrini

Les Miserables

TEN YEARS MORE
ANOTHER DECADE IS OUR DESTINY
THIS NEVER ENDING RUN OF INFAMY
THE PUBLIC DOESNT MIND THE FACT
THIS CRUSTY SHOW HAS BEEN SHELLACKED
TEN YEARS MORE

TEN YEARS MORE IS UNDERSTATING
ALL THE YEARS WE HAVE AHEAD
CHANCES ARE WE’LL STILL BE RUNNING
WHEN MOST PEOPLE HERE ARE DEAD

 


Miss Saigon

MissSaigon600_Forbidden Broadway by Gerard Alessandrini

THE BEAT IS ON IN SAIGON

THE SONGS ARE LOUDER THAN HELL
FOUR LETTER LYRICS ABOUT MISS SAIGON
GOD THE VOLUME IS HIGH AND THE SONGS REALLY SMELL…

GREETING CARDS ARE TOO WITTY
BUT WE CAN USE HELLO KITTY
FOR LYRICS SO DUMB
YOU’LL LOSE YOUR MIND
WHEN YOU FIND
WE’VE BECOME
VIETNUMB

 

 


The Phantom of the Opera

600Phantom_Forbidden Broadway by Gerard AlessandriniI’M THE PHANTOM
BROADWAY’S SMOOTHEST CROONER
HEAR ME GURGLE
THROUGH THIS HORROR TUNER
WHEN THE SONG’S A BITCH
AND I’M SLIGHTLY UNDER PITCH

THEY JUST FLICK THE REVERB SWITCH
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT
AND COVER UP MY MUCUS OF THE NIGHT


 

Wicked

600Wicked_Forbidden Broadway by Gerard AlessandriniAND SUDDENLY I
AM DEFYING SUBTLETY
WITH DEATH DEFYING LACK OF SUBTLETY
I’LL CAPTURE WORLD RENOWN
I’LL BLOW THIS THEATRE UP BECAUSE
I AM THE LOUDEST WITCH IN OZ

AND NO ONE’S GONNA TURN MY VOLUME
DOWN……….!

 

 

 

 


 

Jersey Boys

600JerseyBoys_Forbidden Broadway by Gerard AlessandriniThat’s right. By simply narrating over eighty percent of this show, we can tell three times as much of this ordinary showbiz story and throw in more unrelated pop songs than Mamma Mia – watch!

WALK LIKE A MAN
SING LIKE A GIRL
YOU’LL SOAR TO NUMBER ONE
FALSETTO PITCH
IS SUCH A BITCH

HELIUM HELPS MY SON


 

The Book of Mormon

600Mormon_Forbidden Broadway by Gerard AlessandriniWE ENJOY WRITING CHILDISH MUSIC
WITH LYRICS THAT APPALL

TO MURDER GOOD TASTE IS OUR MISSION
INSULT ALL AND STAND TALL

WE BELIEVE
IN MAGNIFICENT FAME AND FORTUNE
WE BELIEVE
THAT BROADWAY SHOULD BE VULGAR CRASS AND LEWD
AND WE BELIEVE
YOU DON’T HAVE TO SCAN THE WORDS
TO FIT IN CORRECTLY
OR SET THEM PROPERLY TO THE MUSIC

 

 


Anna-Jane Casey, Damian Humbley, Ben Lewis and Christina Bianco in Forbidden Broadway in the West End

Anna-Jane Casey, Damian Humbley, Ben Lewis and Christina Bianco in Forbidden Broadway in the West End

Homage to Sondheim

INTO THE WORDS
THAT TRIP YOUR LIP AND FRY YOUR BRAIN
AND SPRAIN YOUR TONGUE
INTO THE WORDS
SO COMPLICATED GROWN UPS FIND IT SCARY
INTO THE WORDS
THAT FLY AND TRY TO MAKE YOU CHOKE THE JOKE YOU’VE SUNG
INTO THE WORDS
MORE LETTERS THAN THE OXFORD DICTIONARY

 

Forbidden Broadway is booking until 22 November 2014 at the West End’s Vaudeville Theatre.

 

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