Wednesday, April 18, 2012

FORBIDDEN BROADWAY Set to Open on May 11

The New Yorker must be right in describing Forbidden Broadway as "the funniest show in New York" because I caught a sneak peek of it the other day during the press con at Chihuahua Mexican Grill in Makati and am looking forward to laughing more when I watch the show in full next month.

Forbidden Broadway, the off-Broadway smash hit is presented by Upstart Productions. It is a cabaret revue sharply spoofing show tunes, characters and plots of contemporary and current Broadway musicals. It has mocked popular shows like The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Les Miserables, Mamma Mia!, Cats, Hairspray, and Rent, to name a few. 

The show, which was conceived, written, and directed by Gerard Alessandrini also targets famous Broadway personalities such as Julie Andrews, Mel Brooks, Kristin Chenoweth, Bob Fosse, Whoopi Goldberg, Dustin Hoffman, Jennifer Holiday, Elton John, Angela Lansbury, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cameron Mackintosh, Idina Menzel, Ethel Merman, Liza Minelli, Bernadette Peters, Stephen Sondheim, Barbra Streisand and many others. 

Gerard Alessandrini was an unemployed actor who assembled some of the musical parodies of Broadway shows he had written since childhood into a nightclub act. The show, in its various editions, has received  over 9000 performances and had been seen in more than 200 U.S. cities as well as in London, Tokyo, Singapore, and Sydney. It has won awards from Tony and Drama Desk, Obie and Outer Critics Circle.

I had the pleasure of hearing the Philippine cast sing three songs which include funny renditions of the Mamma Mia song, and Rent's Seasons of Love. Watch this video so you can see better what I'm talking about :)

Forbidden Broadway, Philippine edition, will showcase the versatile talents of the following exceptional actors:

OJ and Liesl
Liesl Batucan, a two-time Aliw Award winner for Best Actress, has appeared in over 100 theatrical productions for Repertory Philippines and has also appeared in Tanghalang Pilipino's critically acclaimed productions as well as in shows in the U.S., Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Budapest.

Caisa Borromeo, one of local theater's most talented young performers, recently won the award for Best Female Lead Performance in a Musical at the 2010 Philstage Gawad Buhay Awards for her portrayal of Jo March in Repertory Philippines' Little Women. 

Caisa and Lorenz
OJ Mariano also won the Awit Award for best Performance by a New Male Recording Artist in 2006. A prolific recording artist, OJ has been performing more and more on the stage and actually remains my favorite Tom Collins of Rent. 

Lorenz Martinez, who I've last seen as the best Snoopy ever in 9 Works Theatrical's You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, is an international talent who was part of the ensemble and played the Engineer for the Netherlands production of Miss Saigon. He has a long list of shows under his belt including being the voice of Stitch in Hong Kong Disneyland and being the only male Asian performer in the Cinderella Asian Tour.

According to the show's director, Joel Trinidad (the sensational guy who starred in Defending the Caveman), he has handpicked all four because, "More than just great singers, dancers, and actors, I needed performers who could be funny without trying. Comic timing is something you're born with: you either have it or you don't," he explained. "I'm happy to say that my cast members are all great performers who were definitely born with it."

He shared that he loves Forbidden Broadway because it pokes fun at all the big Broadway hits in a good-natured way that's never petty or mean. "It's like watching 20 or more Broadway musicals in one go!"

Asked if people, who are not too into theater much, would also enjoy the show, Joel assured, "You don't even have to be familiar with any of the featured musicals to appreciate the show -- that's how well-written it is. It's an amazing show, one of the funniest I've ever seen." He adds that those who have seen Forbidden Broadway before would be pleasantly surprised with what he's got planned for the Philippine version.

Aside from the "fantastic four", audiences can look forward to guest performers like Aiza Seguerra, Nyoy Volante, Jett Pangan, and many more. 

Forbidden Broadway will run from May 11 to May 27, 2012 with shows on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00PM and matinee shows on Saturdays and Sundays at 3:00PM. All performances will be at the C.P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati.

For tickets, inquiries, and other information, call Upstart Productions at 0917.5285678 or email or Tickets are also available through Ticketworld at 891-9999 or

Visit, add Upstart Prod on Facebook, and follow Upstart Productions or joel_trinidad on Twitter.

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