Helen Hocker play satirizes Broadway

Kate Fechter-Stamper

Helen Hocker Theater is currently showing the off-Broadway hit, “Forbidden Broadway.” The play, which finishes its run this weekend, is a satirical musical-comedy that mocks the famous Broadway hits. It’s a fun show to watch and nothing short of hilarious.

Created by Gerard Alessandri, “Forbidden Broadway” is directed by Jo Huseman and it has a four person cast: Dan Lindquist, Chelle Decker, Rick Bixler and Secily Rees.

The play covers musical greats like “Chicago,” “Les Miserables,” “Mamma Mia,” “Rent” and “The Phantom of the Opera.”  It also pokes fun at famous Broadway legends like Carol Channing, Ethel Merman and Barbara Streisand.

In Act 1, the satire begins with “Chicago,” making fun of the famous “They Both Reached for the Gun” scene with its ventriloquist act. Then they continue by making fun of Bob Fosse with the song “Glossy Fosse,” which comments on the lack of set and the gyrating dances which make up for it.

A 40-year-old Annie laments on her lack of career while smoking a cigarette. More hilarious songs follow, including a cover of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend,” which makes fun of Carol Channing’s repeated acting in “Hello Dolly” with the song, “Dolly is a Girl’s Best Friend.” The first act ends with “More Miserables,” which laughs at how long “Les Miserables” is, and how depressing it is, with a large part of the cast getting shot.

Act 2 begins after a short intermission, and begins with “The Phantom and Ethel,” which mocks the use of microphones instead of diaphragmatic breathing. The hype of “Rent” is lampooned, and so is the campiness of “Hairspray.” The musical ends with “A Chorus Line” and “What We Did For Laughs.”

The cast is outstanding, mixing comedy and musical talent. Cast members all have strong voices and wonderful expressions. The show is fast-paced, and it is surprising that the time flies by so quickly. The costuming is great — quick changes and different wigs help to bring the characters to life.

Nancy Epoch is the director of  music. Pat Gibson plays the piano, Bob Keckeisen is on drums and Manuel Tabor plays bass. The songs are catchy and they will get stuck in your head.

I recommend taking a break from the stress of classes, and checking out the show on its final weekend. It plays at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday at Helen Hocker Theater in Gage Park. To order tickets, call the theater office at (785) 368-0191 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday-Friday.