Arts and Entertainment

Musical parody 'Forbidden Broadway' coming to the Auburn Ave

Kevin B. McGlynn performs as Refreaky in a parody of “The Lion King” in the musical satire “Forbidden Broadway.” - Courtesy photo
Kevin B. McGlynn performs as Refreaky in a parody of “The Lion King” in the musical satire “Forbidden Broadway.”
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Auburnites will have a chance to view musical parody at its finest when "Forbidden Broadway" rolls into the Auburn Avenue Theater for two nights next weekend, part of the city's Bravo Performing Arts Series.

Showtime is 7:30 p.m., April 26 and 27.

The show, the longest-running Off-Broadway production in history, pokes fun at Broadway's finest, with songs parodying blockbusters such as "Les Miserables," "The Lion King," "Annie" and "Phantom of the Opera."

According to Craig Laurie, one of four actors performing more than 40 roles on stage, "Forbidden Broadway" was created in 1982 by actor and playwright Gerard Alessandrini, while he was working as a waiter in New York City.

"One of the first (parodies) he did was about 'Camelot,'" Laurie said. "He turned 'I Wonder What the King Is Doing Tonight?' into 'I Wonder What the King Is Drinking Tonight.' Of course, Richard Harris, who played King Arthur (in 'Camelot'), was rumored to be bit of a drinker."

Realizing that he had mined comedic and musical gold, Alessandrini set about compiling a repertoire of parody skits, and put on a show, "Forbidden Broadway", in a cabaret with the help of friends.

"It took off like wild fire," Laurie said. "The stars that they parodied actually came to see the show because it's done with love."

The traveling version of the show features Laurie, actors Kevin B. McGlynn, Valerie Fagan and Jeanne Montano and musical accompaniment by Catherine Stornetta.

"It's a show which parodies Broadway shows. It's like they say, 'You always hurt the ones you love,'" said McGlynn, who has performed in the show off and on since 1996. "It's sort of like 'Saturday Night Live' for the theater. There have been several incarnations of the show, and it changes every year and a half to two years. New numbers go in and old numbers come out. For the road show we do a lot of the classic numbers from the shows, stuff that if you're alive you'd have heard before."

According to Laurie, the pacing of the show is frenetic, with each cast member playing anywhere from 12 to 17 roles.

"It's four people in the show constantly on stage and constantly changing costumes," Laurie said. "You could be doing the star turn in one sketch then doing one of the flying monkeys in the 'Wicked' sketch. It's an all-hands-on-deck type of show."

And all part of the fun.

"It's just so smart," Laurie said. "It's very funny. There is nothing like it. It's like the 'Carol Burnett Show' live on stage.

"Forbidden Broadway" has picked up nine Drama Desk Awards, a Special Tony for Excellence in Theatre, an Obie, a Lucille Lortel and a Drama League Award. The show, through its many editions, ran for 2,332 performances since 1982, receiving more than 9,000 performances world-wide and 11 "un-original" cast recordings.

Tickets are $17 regular, $15 student and senior. To order, call 253-931-3043 or go online through Brown Paper Tickets at www.auburnwa.gov/arts.

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