Everybody gets skewered

Forbidden Broadway Greatest Hits at Lakewood Playhouse

By Alec Clayton on January 17, 2019

I can't remember when I've laughed so much as I did at opening night of Forbidden Broadway Greatest Hits at Lakewood Playhouse. Forbidden Broadway is a musical review spoof on almost every big hit musical in the past half century and longer in which everybody gets skewered -- from Ethel Merman to Carol Channing to Steven Sondheim to Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Since opening Off-Broadway in 1982, there have been more than 20 editions of the show in New York, London and Los Angeles, and each edition spoofs different shows from Chicago to Fiddler on the Roof, to Rent, Hello Dolly and Hairspray. Show business personalities are known to wait in delicious anticipation to see if they're going to be spoofed next.

It is a show filled with great music, fabulously skewed lyrics making fun of Broadway. The six-person cast in Lakewood Playhouse's performance are not only outstanding singers, they are skilled actors, impersonators, and dancers (choreography by Ashley Roy, who is also in the cast).

Sharry O'Hare, who said she did not want to even audition because she didn't think she could do impersonations, was talked into considering it and changed her mind. She does a spot-on and knockout funny impersonation of Carol Channing.

Micheal O'Hara displays singing chops that will make you go ga-ga when he performs as Mandy Patinkin singing "Somewhat Overindulgent" to the tune of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

Dawn Padula as Chita Rivera makes fun of Rita Moreno in a medley of songs from West Side Story, until Katheryne Elliott as Moreno joins her on stage to sing her version, and the two stars (Moreno played Anita in the movie and Rivera played Anita on Broadway) trade insults to the tune of "America" and other songs from West Side Story.

O'Hara makes fun of the great Bob Fosse with the tune "Hey Bob Fosse" sung to the tune of "Hey Big Spender."

The entire ensemble is insanely hilarious doing "Ambition" to the tune of "Tradition" from Fiddler on the Roof.

Roy does a long solo impersonation of Liza Minnelli in which she repeatedly brags that her mother is Judy Garland, and Padula does an equally impressive impersonation of Barbara Streisand. The way she brushes her hair away from her face is worth the price of a ticket.

Elliott also performs as Elle Woods from Legally Blonde while cuddling a dog, Alexis Dyson goes Into the Woods with style, while Timothy McFarlan is a comically majestic as Cameron Macintosh, legendary producer of such hits as Phantom of the Opera, Cats and Les Misérables, the latter of which gets more stage time than anything else.

I could go on ad infinitum naming songs and stars but suffice it to say it is two hours of non-stop song and dance, and every number is funny and performed with knock-'em-dead skill.

As a bonus to all that laughter and music, there are countless costume changes throughout with a myriad of inventive costumes designed by Lauren Wells.

Forbidden Broadway is the perfect post-holiday entertainment.

FORBIDDEN BROADWAY GREATEST HITS, 8 p.m., Friday-Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday, through Feb. 3, Lakewood Playhouse, 5729 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd., Lakewood, $30, $28 military and seniors, $25 students/educators, 253.588.0042, lakewoodplayhouse.org