‘Forbidden Broadway’ Endures For Its Biting Satire

May 8, 2024

Forbidden Broadway – L-R William Kimmel, Cynthia Collins, Kieran Danaan & Christine Zavakos. Courtesy of Meg Gates Osborne. Used with permission.

Forbidden Broadway – Cynthia Collins. Courtesy of Meg Gates Osborne. Used with permission

One of the unique joys of my 50-year reviewing career has been all the musicals I have seen on Broadway as well as touring, regional and local productions.  I have seen so many over the decades, that I ceased counting long ago. As far as “Forbidden Broadway,” the Off-Broadway review parodying musical theatre, and Broadway shows in particular, I have seen this particular work numerous times since its premier in 1982. The most recent, wildly entertaining, updated version I witnessed was Sunday, April 28 at Studio Theatre, the home of Actors Theatre of Indiana located at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel.

Directed and choreographed by William Kimmel, who was also a cast member, the music director for the ATI production was Brent Marty, who also accompanied on the piano. The three remaining cast members were ATI co-founder Cynthia Collins, Kieran Danaan and Christine Zavakos.

Forbidden Broadway – Christine Zavakos. Courtesy of Meg Gates Osborne. Used with permission.

Accompanied by the always effervescent Marty, a seasoned musician and performer who also participated throughout the show, the strong, versatile cast excelled at delivering lyrics that are clever yet also border on the lame and corny, which accounts for their charm. Some of the musicals parodied included “Annie.” “Wicked,” “Book of Mormon,” “Into the Woods,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Avenue Q,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Mary Poppins.” “Peter Pan.” “Gypsy,” and others.  Another attraction of the revue was the spot on cast impressions of various Broadway stars such as Ethel Merman, Mary Martin, Julie Andrews, Mandy Patinkin, and Cameron Macintosh.

What I most appreciate about seeing a “Forbidden Broadway” revue is the opportunity to hear the music from each referenced score. As for me, I felt gratified that at one time or another, I had seen every single one of the musicals covered.

Contributing to the show’s success as an ideal production for the intimate Studio Home space was its praiseworthy creative team consisting of Scenic Designer P. Bernard Killian, Lighting Designer Dustin Druckman, Wig Designer Amanda French, Sound Designer Ben Dobler and costume coordinator Laura Gartein.

For tickets and information about “Forbidden Broadway,” which runs through Sunday, May 12, visit thecenterpresents.org


































photo: Josh Humble

About Tom

Journalist, producer, director, Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, arts administrator, TV contributor, actor, model, writer and lyricist, Tom Alvarez has had an extensive career in media and the fine arts and continues to be an enthusiastic and devoted fan of both. His passion and unique background grant him insight, access and perspective to cover, promote and review the arts in Indianapolis, Central Indiana and beyond. Follow him on social media @tomalvarezartswriter and @tomalvarez1.

Alvarez has been writing about theatre, dance, music, cinema and visual arts for 40 years. His work has appeared in the Indianapolis Star, NUVO, Indianapolis Monthly, Arts Indiana, Unite Magazine, Dance Magazine, NOTE Magazine, and Examiner.com, among many other print and online platforms. A former contributor to Across Indiana on WFYI-TV, he currently has a regular performing arts segment on WISH-TV’s Life. Style. Live!

A principal of Klein & Alvarez Productions, LLC, Alvarez co-created “Calder, The Musical” and is the managing director of Magic Thread Cabaret. As an actor-model, he has appeared in numerous TV and print ads and is represented by the Helen Wells Agency and Heyman Talent Artists Agency.

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