Latest Stories

Joel Trinidad directs ‘Forbidden Broadway’ this May


JOEL Trinidad

For a different kind of pleasure this summer, something “forbidden” comes from veteran actor-playwright-director Joel Trinidad as he directs “Forbidden Broadway” for Upstart Productions May 11-27 at RCBC Theater.

“‘Forbidden Broadway,’ considered the longest-running musical revue in New York history, is a show that spoofs all the most famous Broadway musicals—‘Les Miz,’ ‘The Phantom of the Opera,’ ‘Rent,’  ‘Mamma Mia!,’  ‘Cats,’ to name just a few—by taking the best-known songs from those shows and adding funny lyrics to them,” says Trinidad.

The New Yorker calls it the funniest show in New York, and Trinidad, after having seen it, agrees. Then again, he explains, there’s nothing really forbidden about the play, which is celebrating its 30th year and will be staged for the first time by a professional theater production outfit in Manila.

“It’s suitable for all ages,  and I suspect that word—forbidden—is in the title just to make the show sound naughty and playful, which it undoubtedly is. It’s one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen, and I still can’t believe how lucky Upstart Productions is that no other theater company has ever professionally produced it in Manila, and that the rights were actually available,” Trinidad explains.

Because it has many incarnations, with titles like “Forbidden Broadway Strikes Back,” “Forbidden Broadway 2001: A Spoof Odyssey” and, most recently, “Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab,” Trinidad clarifies the version Upstart uses is the one called “Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits.”

“It is exactly what it sounds like: a collection of the best numbers from the different iterations of the show through the years,” he says.

An unemployed actor’s idea

The story goes that in the early 1980s, an unemployed actor on the New York scene, Gerard Alessandrini, wanted a showcase for his talents, so he decided to assemble some of the musical parodies of Broadway shows he had written since childhood into a nightclub act.

LOI MARTINEZ, OJ Mariano, Caisa Borromeo and Liesl Batucan

Thus was born “Forbidden Broadway,” a four-person show, composed of two men and two women playing pivotal roles.

Besides mocking popular shows like “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Wicked,” “Les Misérables,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” “Hairspray,” “The Lion King,” “The Music Man,” “Miss Saigon” and “Rent,” among others, it also targets famous Broadway actors, writers, composers, directors, choreographers and producers, such as Julie Andrews, Mel Brooks, Carol Channing, Kristin Chenoweth, Michael Crawford, Harvey Fierstein, Bob Fosse, Whoopi Goldberg, Robert Goulet, Jerry Herman, Dustin Hoffman, Jennifer Holiday, Elton John, Angela Lansbury, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Patti LuPone, Cameron Mackintosh, Mary Martin, Idina Menzel, Ethel Merman, Liza Minnelli, Rita Moreno, Bebe Neuwirth, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters, Chita Rivera, Stephen Sondheim, Barbra Streisand, Julie Taymor, Gwen Verdon.

The original version opened on Jan. 15, 1982, at Palsson’s Supper Club on New York’s Upper West Side, and had become a hit. Critics and the audience loved it. With its several editions, the play has since received over 9,000 performances and been seen in over 200 US cities, as well as playing in London, Tokyo, Singapore and Sydney.

It has won awards from Tony and Drama Desk, Obie and Outer Critics Circle.

Choosing the right actors

Since it’s a very personal favorite, Trinidad made sure he got the right people for the roles.

“I made sure the actors I handpicked for this show—Liesl Batucan, Caisa Borromeo, OJ Mariano and Lorenz Martinez—were talented enough to take on anything I could throw at them. When you have a cast as good as this, assigning roles becomes ridiculously easy,” he says.

“I went for a combination of a great voice and a great sense of humor,” he adds. “In a show like this, one is nothing without the other. I wanted the songs to be sung so well that they wouldn’t sound like spoof songs; I also wanted the jokes so sharp you wouldn’t have to be a theater-lover to enjoy the show.”

Guest performers are Aiza Seguerra, Nyoy Volante, Jett Pangan and many more.

“Forbidden Broadway” runs May 11-27, with shows Friday-Saturday at 8 p.m. and matinee shows Saturday-Sunday at 3:30 p.m. All performances are at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati City.  Call Ticketworld at 8919999; visit www.ticketworld.com.ph.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Forbidden Broadway , Joel Trinidad , Lifestyle , musicals

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  2. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  3. This is not just a farm
  4. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  5. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  6. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week?
  7. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  8. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  9. Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  10. The truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, eggs benedict, chicken leg confit are excellent
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  4. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  5. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  6. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  7. France makes work beyond 6 p.m. illegal
  8. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?


  • Two Popes who would be saints
  • Anti-gay demo in Ethiopia cancelled
  • Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US
  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Sports

  • Duke freshman declares for NBA draft
  • Vietnam says it will not host Asian Games
  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • Lifestyle

  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Entertainment

  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Last call for nominations to ’14 Presidential Awards
  • San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks
  • A ‘time-travel’ production of ‘Les Miserable’ at Stanford
  • Filipina Maryknoll sister honored for years of service
  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus