Spoofs galore in ‘Forbidden Broadway’ | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022


Question: If the spoof lyrics in the musical revue “Forbidden Broadway” are translated into Filipino by someone like, say, Bien Lumbera or Pete Lacaba, will the show be more successful, just as successful, or less successful?

It will be successful, the show’s director, actor Joel Trinidad, said diplomatically. But there’s a little problem: You will need the permission of the rights holders “who are very strict, very jealous” regarding their property.

The venue was Chihuahua Mexican Grill in Makati City, where a press conference was held to announce Upstart Productions’ (tel. 0917-5285678) forthcoming “Forbidden Broadway” (written by Gerard Alessandrini) at Carlos P. Romulo Theater, RCBC Plaza, Makati.

The show will run May 11-27, with performances Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and matinee shows Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Each night will feature a guest celebrity such as Lea Salonga, Jett Pangan, Aiza Seguerra.

Present during the press con were musical director Onyl Torres and the four stars of the show—Liesl Batucan, Caisa Borromeo, OJ Mariano and Lorenz Martinez—who performed some of the rib-tickling numbers in the revue.


LORENZ Martinez

With new, amusing and laugh-out-loud lyrics, “Forbidden Broadway” satirizes contemporary and current Broadway and West End musical hits such as “Phantom of the Opera,” “Les Miserables,” “Cats,” “Mamma Mia!,” “Hairspray” and “Rent,” to name just a few plays that have been performed in Manila.

Also targets of the lampoon, at least in the original Broadway productions (which have many versions), are famous Broadway performers, composers, directors and producers such as Julie Andrews, Barbra Streisand, Bob Fosse, Whoopi Goldberg, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim, Elton John, Cameron Mackintosh, Dustin Hoffman.

Will our performers impersonate these celebrities, asked one media man.

“No,” said Torres, “we have our own way of interpretation. It’s our Manila way.”

“We are de-emphasizing impressions, impersonation,” said Trinidad, who heads Upstart Productions.

“It’s our own takeoff,” added Batucan.

ONYL Torres

In response to a question, Trinidad reiterated that “every single show has the permission, the license from the rights holders. So, they won’t be offended by the lampoon and the audience should just have fun.”

The spoofing and the satire, he added, “are very respectfully done, nothing mean-spirited. It’s just like people roasting each other. The fun is at a high level.”

Being a revue, the show has no plot or storyline. A little dialogue may follow one song after another. There will be a lot of costume changes but nothing elaborate, nothing truly representational. And no full makeup.

“That’s part of the charm, being el cheapo,” Trinidad observed tongue-in-cheekly.

The challenge, he concluded, lies in “how to do justice to the material, how to make the material even more effective, and not necessarily just to get a laugh.”