IF YOU GO
What: Parodies of current and classic Broadway musicals and stars to benefit local charity grants from the League Club, preceded a hors d’oeuvre buffet and social time
Where: Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, 851 Gulf Shore Blvd. N., Naples
When: 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 19
Information: 353-3100 or www.theleagueclub.org
Something else: There’s also a pre-sale of 100 $100 chances to win $10,000
Some musicals are rock-solid classics. “Forbidden Broadway” is a classic that is more like a river.
It picks up funny, funky debris as it rolls along through the years, parodying everything Broadway. It has mocked popular shows from “Annie Get Your Gun” to “The Phantom of the Opera.” “Les Miserables” as the butt of a joke? That’s right. “Forbidden Broadway” has planted its whoopee cushion under theatrical superstars, too, from Patti Lupone to Michael Feinstein. When it comes to Naples Feb. 19, “The Lion King” will be taking it on his famous whiskered chin; Mary Poppins, the man of La Mancha and a host of other famous musical characters also appear in spoofs.
The League Club of Naples is presenting the touring production as a fundraiser for its charity grants in Collier County; the organization distributes an average $200,000 annually for charitable causes. The ticket price for the show and an hors d’oeuvres buffet at the Naples Beach Club Hotel & Golf Club is $200.
“It’s absolutely hilarious,” said Karen Anderson of Naples, a member who has seen one of its reincarnations. ”They’ll come out an do a mockout of Elton John, for instance. It’s not malicious — it just makes you smile.
It’s very fast-paced, too,” she added. The show manages to plow through parodies of 31 musicals in its 97-minute running time. Anderson said the “Forbidden Broadway” she sees this time may be totally different than the one she saw nearly 10 years ago.
“They’re all up to date. By this time they could be doing Lady Gaga. It changes with the times,“ she said. One thing doesn’t change, she added: “Anyone who goes in comes out smiling.”
“Forbidden Broadway” actually developed from the wit of unemployed actor Gerard Alessandrini, who wrote the sketches in 1982 as a supper club show he could perform in New York. It ran for years, which turned into decades as ”Forbidden Broadway” changed venues, targets, stars and subtitles. There are “Forbidden Broadway 2001: A Spoof Odyssey”; “Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab”; “Forbidden Broadway: Rude Awakening”’ and the show production slated for Naples, “Forbidden Broadway Dances with the Stars.”
The show has been an incubator for comedy talent such as Jason Alexander, Brad Oscar, singer/impressionist Christine Pedi, actor Bryan Batt (of AMC’s “Mad Men”), “Spamalot” star Michael McGrath, Barbara Walsh (“Company,” “Ragtime”) and more. It continues to win Drama Desk, Obie and Outer Critics Circle Awards for its various revisions.
A musical satire revue is a departure for the League Club that fundraiser chair Marge Weaver felt would be fresh air amid the sober emotional and financial climate this season.
“We had a committee choose from among of a variety of shows to bring something here that had never been to Naples before,” she said. “We decided ‘Forbidden Broadway’ was something that wasn’t serious, which we think people really need this year.
“We’re not doing any silent auctions, just a lovely buffet with one free drink and people go into the theater. .. Those who really want to help others and have a good time doing it are the people who should come to this.”
Connect with Harriet at www.naplesnews.com/staff/harriet-howard-heithaus