Gulfport Little Theatre’s ‘Forbidden Broadway’ pulls no punches

Tricia Allen as Annie
Tricia Allen as Annie Gulfport Little Theatre

Gulfport Little Theatre’s latest production, “Forbidden Broadway,” opening Friday promises a rollicking good time with a musical review parodying musical theater in general and Broadway in particular.

The show runs for three weekends, with a special dinner production April 28 at Oak Crest Mansion Inn, 5267 Menge Ave., Pass Christian.

Originally conceived, written and directed by Gerard Alessandrini in the early 1980s, “Forbidden Broadaway” is a cabaret revue that sharply spoofs show tunes, characters and plots of contemporary and classic Broadway musicals.

It has spawned numerous editions as the writer brings in new successful shows.

Here, the players take down “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Wicked,” “Les Miserables,” “Annie,” “West Side Story” and other classic productions, as well as the iconic performers who starred in them.

Director Cal Walters has corralled a multigenerational cast of veteran performers from all over the Mississippi Coast who take obvious glee in sending up the likes of Barbra Streisand, Mel Brooks and Liza Minelli in 21 mischievous songs.

Major highlights include the talented Tina Johnson playing Chita Rivera (Broadway) and Susan Smith playing Rita Moreno (movie), debating over who played Maria better in West Side Story. Smith also does a wicked turn as Ethel Merman criticizing the Phantom of the Opera’s singing, and Kathe Newcomb portrays a Carol Channing eternally stuck in the role she played in “Hello Dolly.”

Jay Lynn spoofs Teyve’s iconic song from “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Tradition with Ambition,” and Tricia Allen does a bedraggled turn as Annie, smoking a cigarette and moaning about how she hasn’t worked since she was 10.

James Rojas adds to the fun with a musical parody of the “Les Miz” song “Bring Him Home” with “This Song is Too High.”

Musical director Cherie Ruff plays live music on her keyboard throughout the play and AJ Lawson’s choreography does for your eyes what Ruff’s snazzy music does for your ears.

You can rest assured when a company has so much talent that it can use talented performers such as Anne Musgrove in the chorus lines, you’re in for an evening of outstanding entertainment.

Director Cal Walters has added a local twist to the show. Each performance will offer a memorial to great Coast thespians who are no longer with us. With a fast-paced catalogue of musical spoofs that will have you laughing all the way home, “Forbidden Broadway” is the musical the whole family will enjoy.

‘Forbidden Broadway’

Presented by: Gulfport Little Theatre

Where: Pass Road at 13th Avenue, Gulfport

Show times/dates: Sunday and Friday, Saturday and April 30 and May 5-7; Friday and Saturday, curtain at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. A special dinner-theater performance will be April 28 at Oak Crest Mansion, 5267 Menge Ave, Pass Christian

Starring: Tricia Allen, Claire Banke, Beckah Campbell, Philip Dutton, Cody Ghiloni, Brian Giglione, Kimberly Hess, Bonnie Hoeg, Tina Johnston, Corbin Jones, Claire Jones, Jade Kramer, Ciara Kramer, Brennah Ladner, A.J. Lawson, Jay Lynn, Katie Lynn, Skylar Mavar, Chesley McKissack, Erikka Miller, Anne Musgrove, Kathe Newcomb, Lexi Nimmo-Cole, Mike Petro, James Rojas, Olivia Ruiz, Susan Smith, Gavin Smith, Rachel Thone and Logan Tribble.

Tech: Director: Cal Walters; Music direction: Cherie Cruso Ruff; Choreographer: A.J. Lawson, Cal Walters; Stage manager: Theresa Geboy; Light operator: Janice Murphy, Anita Lynn; Set design: Cal Walters, Jay Lynn; Set construction: Cal Walters; Costume design: Tricia Allen.

Tickets: $16 general admission, $13 senior/military, $11 child/student

Reservations/details: 228-864-7983; www.gulfportlittletheatre.org.