|By Paul Wozniak|
BoarsHead’s ’Broadway’ out of place in Lansing
Broadway lags behind Hollywood when it comes to capitalizing on self-mockery. While today’s blockbuster films are immediately parodied with celebrity look-alikes and bathroom humor, Broadway has only recently grown keen to laugh at itself and its big-selling shows. But Gerard Alessandrini’s “Forbidden Broadway” has had no issue with satirizing blockbuster musicals since 1982, proving that low budget doesn’t have to equal lowbrow.
Ellen Campbell, Marc Moritz, Janine Novenske Smith, Paul Riopelle and Emily Sutton-Smith fill a wide range of caricatures throughout the show, ranging from Liza Minnelli to Robert Goulet.Some of the songs parody well-known characters, like a 30-year-old Annie, while others mock famous actors, such as Carol Channing and Barbara Streisand. Some jokes rely heavily on the audience’s inside knowledge of a particular musical, the point of which is practically assumed in the title, but it also hushes the room on more than one occasion.
Campbell and Riopelle prove to be the most adept at hammering the ham and skewering the meat, even when it gets thin. Campbell’s impersonation of the aged Channing and “One Note Liza” are highlights, as well is Riopelle’s drunken Goulet, despite going for the easy laughs. Novenske Smith, Sutton-Smith and Moritz also have their moments, but never to the same extent and consistency.
On Saturday, there were two songs during which no one in the audience laughed. Instead of the giant cane whisking the actor off-stage or the actor even acknowledging the lack of audience response with an improvised remark, the song went on, and the audience gritted its teeth in hopes that the following number would improve.
April 4 7 p.m. Wednesday & Thursday 8 p.m. Friday & Saturday 2
p.m. Sunday BoarsHead Theater, 425 S. Grand Ave., Lansing $17-$35 (517)