By William Wolf

BUILDING THE WALL  Send This Review to a Friend

Playwright Robert Schenkkan (“All the Way”) has given free rein to his imagination and speculates on what could befall America as a result of the Trump administration’s war against immigrants. You can call the situation dramatized in “Building the Wall” far-fetched, but nonetheless it makes for an unsettling projection of events in this tightly presented two-hander grippingly performed by James Badge Dale and Tamara Tunie.

It takes a while for the true horror to be revealed in the face-off between Dale as Rick and Tunie as Gloria. The setting is a prison meeting room in El Paso, Texas, and the time is the fall of 2019. Rick is facing possible execution and Gloria is there to elicit his verson of events for the public to learn and understand. It was not told at Rick’s trial, and he is fuming about the decision of his attorney not to put him on the stand so he could speak in his defense.

There is bantering between them before getting to the nitty gritty, a conversation that tellingly reveals Rick’s mindset. I have to say that the approximately 90 minutes of the play passed speedily as I was thoroughly riveted by the talk between Rick and Gloria as a result of the convincing acting by Dale and Tunie and the issues that the playwright puts on the table.

Rick is a nervous, restless character who epitomizes white Americans who feel themselves disenfranchised and resents immigrants illegal or legal who have supposedly taken away jobs. He has served in the army and has never had a shot at the so-called American dream, but he has found employment in the security field. He was a supporter of Trump, who we learn that by this time has been impeached, which even with what is going on today would seem to be a stretch or wishful thinking.

What playwright Schenkkan supposes goes way beyond that. The Trump administration has not only set up privately run prisons to hold the vast numbers of immigrants rounded up, but there have been mass executions of them in the manner of what the Nazis did in the Holocaust. Rick has played a role in the slaughter, and although he has regrets about having been part of the system, he excuses it by rationalizing that if he didn’t do it, someone else would have done it anyhow.

Most chilling is the portrait of an ordinary American guy who, beneath it all, is basically decent, following orders and doing things that he would not have ordinarily done. We know where we have heard of that before, and applying this to our own country is hair-raising when detailed in the conversation that takes place in this prison visiting room.

A theatergoer could protest that it couldn’t happen here, and certainly not within the next two years, but by raising the specter Schenkkan, his cast and director Ari Edelson, whose staging is admirably taut, do a service with this riveting dramatic warning that yes, it potentially could happen here if our democracy goes haywire in an atmosphere of resentment, hatred and repression. At New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street. Phone: 212-239-6200. Reviewed May 26, 2017.

BROADWAY BY THE YEAR: 1997-2006  Send This Review to a Friend

Show business lore celebrates instances when performers are plucked from the chorus to enjoy a spotlight of their own. This occurred appealingly last night (May 22, 2017) at the latest in the Broadway By the Year series at The Town Hall, this one spanning shows from 1997-2006. Creator/writer/director/host Scott Siegel spoke with pride about three who stepped out of the Broadway by the Year Chorus to take center stage. He also took the occasion to plug the forthcoming Broadway’s Rising Stars on July 10, an annual event that showcases new talent.

First it was Pedro Coppeti who came from the ranks to deliver a highly entertaining rendition of “I Am Adolpho” from “The Drowsy Chaperone.” Not only did Coppeti flash a powerful voice, but he showed his acting chops and sense of comedy by having a ball with the character.

In the second act the spotlight shone on Emily Iaquinta and Jeanine Bruen, chorus members given the opportunity to show their singing prowess with the touching co-joined sisters number “I Will Never Leave You” from “Sideshow.” Joining Coppeti, Iaquinta and Bruen in regular Broadway by the Year Chorus duties in the show were Emma Camp and Jacob Pressley.

Of course, main attractions of the evening were already proven stars. What more can one say about the hugely talented Christina Bianco? She impressively sang “Gimme, Gimme” from “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” Scott, having explained that Kristin Chenoweth was one of those originally considered for the lead, asked Bianco to top her rendition by demonstrating how Chenoweth would have done it, and Bianco obliged with an example of her imitation expertise. Later in the program she went to town with her hilarious, uncanny impressions of such stars as Barbra Streisand, Julie Andrews, Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, etc., earning her one of the night’s biggest ovations.

Among the other accomplished women was Maxine Linehan dynamically singing “Someone Like You” from “Jekyll & Hyde,” “Holding Out for a Hero” from “Footloose,” “The Next Best Thing to Love” from “A Class Act,” and teaming charmingly with Brian Charles Rooney in “I Walk the Line” from “Ring of Fire.”

A surprise on the program was Stephanie D’Abruzzo, who on very short notice subbed for the scheduled Emily Skinner, who had to withdraw unexpectedly for personal family reasons. D’Abruzzo obliged to perfection with “A Fine, Fine Line” from “Avenue Q,” in which she starred, and also with a delicately rendered “Feed the Birds” from “Mary Poppins.”

Farah Alvin, whose voice can soar with power as she escalates a number to its climax, sang “Back to Before” from “Ragtime,” “The Winner Takes It All” from “Mamma Mia!” and “Don’’t Cry Out Loud” from “The Boy from Oz.”

Siegel always manages to assemble vibrant male singers, as was the case last night with, for example, talented Josh Young, whose first number was “You Walk With Me” from “The Full Monty,” followed by “Barrett’s Song” from “Titanic” and teaming with Bianco on “ All the Wasted Time” from “Parade.”

Brian Charles Rooney is another with special appeal, as evidenced by his superb singing of “Stranger in This World” from “Taboo,” the swinging “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” from “Jersey Boys” and “The Prayer” from “The Scarlet Pimpernel.”

The series is frequently spiced with tap and other dancing, and the audience was treated with “Pick Yourself Up” from “Never Gonna Dance” teaming Danette Holden and Jeremy Benton, and also the satirical “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from “Spamalot” by Danny Gardner and Benton. There were some great moves to “It Don’t Mean a Thing” and “Jumpin’ at the Woodside” from “Swing!” thanks to Gardner, Gaby Cook and Bobby White.

The program ended with Josh Young, the chorus and the company combining on “Endless Night” from “The Lion King,” a show that Scott amusingly predicted would still be playing long after all of us are gone. As usual for the series, skillful Ross Patterson was at the piano in addition to his demanding chores as musical director. Tom Hubbard was on bass with Eric Halvorson on drums. Rick Hinkson was assistant director, with Joe Burke and Holly Cruz production assistants. At The Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street. Reviewed May 23, 2017.

THE WHIRLIGIG  Send This Review to a Friend

As we file into the theater to see Hamish Linklater’s play “The Whirligig,” we observe Grace Van Pattten, who, we subsequently learn, is Julie, confined to a hospital bed slowly revolving on the stage. Unlike pre-start situations in which an actor sits aimlessly on a chair, at least in this case the sight pricks our interest as the young woman in question would appear to be seriously ill. In fact, as we later hear, she is dying.

The circular movement is in sync with the circular movement of the play itself, as suggested by the title, with characters in revolving situations, but all in one way or another coming to focus on the dying Julie. There are time changes and flashbacks to follow the trajectories of Linklater’s assorted characters, with whom you may or may not relate appreciatively. But you will be unlikely to question the veracity or effectiveness of the acting.

In addition to his attempt to focus on character delineation, the playwright is in a sense presenting an anti-drug theme. We learn that the taking of drugs by Julie has pointed toward catastrophe, and that the responsibility for leading her into her drug habits is heinous. Eventually the personal source of the trouble is unmasked.

There is a lot on the plate for Linklater, known for his acting, as we note in the unspooling of this drama presented by the New Group under the direction of Scott Elliott. Norbert Leo Butz is anguished as Julie’s father, Michael, who can rant and rave and who certainly has reason for upset at the fate of his daughter. His ex-wife and Julie’s mother, Kristina, played by Dolly Wells, effectively expresses her own confrontation with grief.

We meet Julie’s growing-up friend Trish, played by Sosia Mamet, and we see them in their early days of drug use and plotting to find a boyfriend for Julie, who is anxious to lose her virginity. There are Julie’s doctor, Patrick (Noah Bean), and his troubled younger brother, Derrick (Jonny Orsini), and others in the mosaic, and Linklater deftly exposes his characters in the different time frames.

Eventually all roads lead back to Julie and her tragic, decreasing moments as a woman too young to die and the responses of those whose lives she has touched and who have touched hers. Death is inevitably sad, but to the extent that one will respond emotionally will be governed by how deeply one feels for the characters, with Julie the most sympathetic one according to what we have seen of her in Linklater’s whirligig of a drama with its broad attempt at interplay among his character assortment. What does firmly emerge is the built-in warning of how devastating the use of drugs can become in an age when, according to news reports and surveys, they are newly afflicting so many people nation-wide. At the Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 West 42nd Street. Phone: 212-279-4200.

VENUS  Send This Review to a Friend

The odd, sad story of a South African woman who in the early 19th Century was subjected to side show exploitation because of her huge derriere has been told before. But this play by Suzan-Lori Parks presented by the Signature Theatre takes the approach of a legend told with the aid of a narrator and a chorus appearing in different guises, from members of a freak show to doctors marveling at the woman who came to be known as the Venus Hottentot. Wrapped within is the saga of Saartjie Baartman, who gained fame as a center of attraction in England and France, but ended in an early death.

Director Lear Debessonet alternates between emphasizing the spectacle and intimacy contained in Parks’s play. At the core is Zainab Jah in the title role, giving a superb, ultimately affecting performance. The play begins with her appearing center stage and putting on a body suit that turns her into the shape that made her unusual.

Actually, the constructed derriere isn’t all that shocking today. We often see butts like that on a bus. But it reportedly drove men gaga when Baartman, lured to London with promise of riches, was placed in a freak show, along with such oddities as a supposedly two-headed woman, a bearded lady etc. The colorfully costumed freak chorus chants about not being able to leave.

Baartman’s life takes a turn when she is bought by the Baron Docteur, played with authority and sometimes tenderness by John Ellison Conlee, who despite his genuine feelings for Baartman, will ultimately betray her. She falls in love with him, although he is married, and in a setting reflecting his wealth, she shows her neediness by repeatedly asking if he loves her. Lurking in his mind is her future death when her body can be dissected and studied.

That more intimate portion of the play provides the strongest emotional connection for an audience, as opposed to the spectacle and overview that captures attention (excellent scenic design by Matt Saunders) but detracts from the real drama involving a life at stake. Baartman is afflicted with a venereal disease apparently contracted from her benefactor and her health takes a downward spiral until her death.

All of the cast members are good, but Jah is very special as she builds her character from humble beginnings, through the freak show period to being a mistress of the Baron Docteur. Ultimately we do feel for this victim of exploitation, and that is the major accomplishment of the play. At the Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 West 42nd Street. Phone: 212-244-7529. Reviewed May 20, 2017.

THE LUCKY ONE  Send This Review to a Friend

The antagonism between two upscale British brothers is at the heart of the vintage play by A. A. Milne being given a stylish, well acted revival by the Mint Theatre Company. “The Lucky One” was produced on Broadway in 1922.

Milne is best known, of course, for “Winnie-the-Pooh,” but “The Lucky One” is a very adult drawing room comedy-drama that bristles with sophistication and is directed accordingly by Jesse Marchese. The setting is the country home of the well-established Sir James Farringdon, played elegantly by Wynn Harmon.

Robert David Grant plays Gerald Farringdon, a young man with fortune smiling on him as a member of the Foreign Office with prospects for advancement. His older brother Bob, played sullenly by Ari Brand, works in the business world. He has fallen into deep legal trouble as a result of manipulations by an associate, who has abandoned him with the mess. Prison is a real possibility.

There is also a woman in the equation, Pamela Carey, played nicely by Paton Ashbrook, who is betrothed to Gerald. Bob has been in love with her, yet she chose Gerald, who has gone along oblivious to the resentment of his older brother. Bob asks Gerald for help with his legal predicament, but Gerald is at first clearly reluctant to get involved.

There you have the ingredients for a brotherly explosion, and when all hits the fan, Gerald is surprised when Bob unleashes his anger in a head to head confrontation. Also, the romantic tables are turned. When Bob is going off to jail for a short term, Pamela, her feelings for him unleashed and her feelings for Gerald diminished, promises to await his release so that they can be wed.

One can feel sorry for Gerald, as he has been going through life with adulation without a clue as to underlying difficulties, and suddenly, while his professional career is moving along, his personal life is vacuous.

Brand’s performance as Bob is very one-note until the explosion of anger toward Gerald, but even when he wins Pamela his demeanor is solemn.

A scene-stealer is Cynthia Harris as the great-aunt, who has many good lines denoting her wisdom and humor, and Harris makes the most of them, dominating the stage whenever she makes an appearance. Various secondary characters, some adding silliness, round out the portrait of family and friends.

As customary with Mint Theater productions, all is done here in impeccable style to capture the milieu and its look, with sets by Vicki R. Davis and costumes by Martha Hally. At the Beckett Theatre, Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street. Phone: 212-239-6200. Reviewed May 19, 2017.

COME FROM AWAY  Send This Review to a Friend

If President Trump were seeking a Broadway show to see, I would recommend the vibrant musical “Come from Away,” because it might teach him something about hospitality to foreigners. The show, which originated in Canada, packs more energy in its 100-minute intermission-less running time than numerous other shows combined as it deals with the open-hearted hospitality that citizens of Gander, Newfoundland, extended to American and international passengers on planes forced to land there when the catastrophe of 9/11 resulted in grounding of aircraft (38 in Gander) because of fear that more attacks might be in the works. Instead of erecting barriers, the musical, based on real events, dramatizes how residents invited folks into their homes, fed them and offered friendship.

The genius of this production, which I regard as the best new musical of the season, is that from the very beginning a skilled group of 12 actors, via word and song, thrillingly take on assorted roles and slip in and out of the characters in a free-flowing staging, under the savvy direction of Christopher Ashley and musical staging by Kelly Devine. The result is amazing ensemble work, and that includes the musicians, stationed on either side of the stage and sometimes getting into the action, as well as providing a post-curtain-call jam session.

The musical has book, music and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein. (The show has been performed elsewhere before arriving on Broadway, and it has a host of producers.) I checked my watch after about 15 minutes and was surprised at how much story and characterization had already been delineated in the swift staging.

We meet the citizens of Gander, hear about local problems, like a strike, and get to know the mayor and others. We also are introduced to those on a plane, their anxieties and personal stories. In the course of the stay a British gentleman and a woman from Texas fall for each other. A woman whose son is a firefighter in New York hungers to know whether he is safe or not.

There is an especially wonderful scene when two gay men from the aircraft interact with locals but are hesitant to admit they are gay in such a provincial environment. To their surprise, several of the locals burst forth with revelations of having gay family members and friends.

I can’t begin to count the number of characters who crop up throughout, thanks to the work of cast members Petrina Bromley, Geno Carr, Jenn Colella, Joel Hatch, Rodney Hicks, Kendra Kassebaum, Chad Kimball, Lee MacDougall, Caesar Samayoa, Q. Smith, Astrid Van Wieren and Sharon Wheatley. (At the performance I saw Tony Lepage subbed for Kimball.)

The goodhearted nature of “Come from Away” is at the forefront without being cloyingly sentimental, and there is plenty of humor in attitudes and the fast-moving lyrics. The show appeals to our finer qualities as human beings, and manages to be exuberantly entertaining at the same time.

Beowulf Boritt’s scenic design consists of huge tree trunks at both sides of the stage, and various movable elements that help keep the show zipping along. The total effect adds up to welcome helpings of freshness and enthusiasm. At the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, 236 West 45th Street. Phone: 212-239-6200. Reviewed May 17, 2017.

THE GOLDEN APPLE (ENCORES!)  Send This Review to a Friend

I saw the original production of “The Golden Apple” at the off-Broadway Phoenix Theatre in 1954, but the only specific memory I have of it all these years later is Kaye Ballard singing “Lazy Afternoon” in her languid, sultry, bluesy and sexy style (You can hear her on YouTube.) Now New York City Center Encores! has retrieved this legendary show in a staging (May 10-14, 2017) that reveals why so many people have revered the musical with its glorious score by Jerome Moross and lyrics by John Latouche.

One of the most thrilling aspects of this revival is the rendition of the score by the Encores! Orchestra, under the musical direction of Rob Berman, who is also the conductor. The complex, challenging score is a joy to hear as the 31 musicians combine impressively to demonstrate why Moross’s work endures.

“The Golden Apple” is entirely sung, a distinction in itself, and, under the direction of Michael Berresse, the show is presented here with flowing smoothness, including the spirited choreography by Joshua Bergasse. Excellent singers are required and this presentation has them.

The plot and setting constitute an American riff on the Trojan War, involving the battle to capture the departed Helen, the loose woman of the township Angel’s Roost at the edge of Mt. Olympus. Although wed to the affable but cloddish Menelaus (Jeff Blumenkrantz), she has gone off with Paris, elegantly danced by Barton Cowperthwaite, who arrives in a balloon as a salesman of luxury items. Soldiers have returned from the Spanish-American war, but soon embark on the get-Helen-back mission. This is especially hard on Penelope (Mikaela Bennett), who is in love with Ulysses (Ryan Silverman), for instead of staying home with her, he goes off again, much to her chagrin.

Bennett as Penelope and Silverman as Ulysses sing magnificently, and their climactic final number, “We’ve Just Begun,” after Ulysses returns and rekindles the love between them, is a moving high point.

Lindsay Mendez plays Helen more in an ungainly, flaunting, comical Western gal manner than as the temptress she is apparently meant to be. She has a good voice and sings “Lazy Afternoon” in keeping with her sassy character.

There is a large cast, including Michael X. Martin, who has a showy, entertaining role as the mayor of the seaport Rhododendron, where Ulysses and his men in quest of Helen are tempted by a bevy of seductive women according to the mayor’s plan to defeat the invaders.

The various numbers sung to advance the plot and define character are clever, and although theoretically just a concert version, this feels almost like a full scale mounting. The period costumes (William Ivey Long was costume consultant) add much color, and I was especially impressed by the lighting design by Ken Billington that helps build various moods.

The overall American folksy effect gives the show a down-home quality, even though there occasionally is a vaudevillian-style switch, including two characters engaging in a Gallagher and Shean style vocal repartee.

Once again, typically after only a week of rehearsal, Encores! has made a vital contribution to getting contemporary audiences to appreciate the rich history of musical theater. “The Golden Apple” is exactly the kind of work that bears rediscovery. And Encores! has provided an enjoyable and very accomplished re-visit. At New York City Center, 131 West 55th Street. Reviewed May 14, 2017.

A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2  Send This Review to a Friend

Normally efforts to extend a classic with an imagined follow-up stir my skepticism, but it quickly becomes evident that “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” the musing of playwright Lucas Hnath, is refreshingly creative. What happened to Nora after she left her husband and children at the end of Ibsen’s famous 1879 play? Smith conceives of her return 15 years later, and what occurs is packed with energy and crackling dialogue.

The playwright with his language and Sam Gold with his direction do not attempt to re-create the sounds of Ibsen. The dialogue is very much in contemporary vernacular, including used of the F word, and that is a wise choice, avoiding making the play seem like faux Ibsen. A further plus is a superb cast and clever plotting.

Laurie Metcalf presents a tightly wound Nora, who since leaving her husband Torvald and her children has become a noted woman writer under a pseudonym with a particular reputation for a novel that frowns upon the accepted role of women, and accordingly this has stirred hostility.

Nora has a legal problem. She has not revealed that she is married, which would give her husband power over her earnings, and she has broken the law. She is threatened with being exposed and sent to prison unless she renounces her books and ahead-of-her-time beliefs about marriages being restrictive. She must now get her husband to divorce her to resolve the legal matter. Metcalf is superb in etching the portrait of an upset Nora at this stage of her life.

Before she meets Torvald, she encounters the long-time family housekeeper Anne Marie, played by Jayne Houdyshell in one of her best performances. Anne Marie, who has lovingly raised Nora’s children, has been loyal to Torvald at the expense of pursuing her own life and desires. She had initiated Nora’s return, but now sees it as nothing but trouble, and she is blunt in saying so. This is no typical housekeeper role. Houdyshell becomes a major player and has some of the play’s saltiest lines.

We soon meet Torvald, played in stately fashion by the excellent Chris Cooper, who at first displays his lingering bitterness toward Nora as well as regrets. He has allowed people to assume Nora was dead, is angered by her divorce request, asks her to leave and then storms off. Will he have a change of heart? Ultimately there is a moment of tenderness between them.

One of the best sequences is the meeting between Nora and her grown daughter Emmy, played to perfection by Condola Rashad. Emmy immediately sees through her mother’s desire for her to help persuade Torvald on the divorce issue as a selfish one. She resents being used by her mother, instead of her mother showing compassion and excitement at meeting her daughter whom she has not seen since Emmy’s childhood. The dialogue is blistering as Emmy reveals herself to be resentful as well as one who could use motherly love.

The author springs a surprise as to how this all works out. But the play leaves me with uneasy questions about the take on Nora and her burst toward liberation from an unhappy, confining marriage in the original. It would seem that her break led to character problems as well as success, and that in the final analysis Nora would seem to have become a very self-absorbed person, not an ideal model of character advancement apart from her literary gain. On the other hand the play hands her a gesture that is a boon to the astonished Torvald, indicating a level of consideration and responsibility in her after all. Her trajectory is interesting to ponder, which makes the play all the more fascinating. At the Golden Theatre, 252 West 45th Street. Phone: 212-239-6200. Reviewed May 6, 2017.

GROUNDHOG DAY, THE MUSICAL  Send This Review to a Friend

Fans of the film “Groundhog Day” may want to see how the musical version has turned out, but anyone interested in a good musical theater performance may want to see Andy Karl in the role of broadcast weatherman Phil Connors. Karl gives a magnetic, highly entertaining account of himself in the show, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, a book by Danny Rubin and assorted contributions by those who add color and life to the elaborate staging.

As happens with most musicals two and a half hours long, the second act seems stretched and one feels the need for shortening. But the show keeps being driven by Karl’s amusing, hyper performance as a man who continues to live the same day over and over again to the point of his boredom, and sometimes ours, and eventually finds a way to take advantage of his plight.

There is a lot of fun in watching how fast-talking Phil bears up under the monotony of having to face the same rituals and celebrations of Groundhog Day, when the town he can’t stand focuses on when the celebrated groundhog emerges from the winter and whether or not it sees its shadow determining what the weather will be like. Humor is extracted from the repetitiveness of Phil’s life and what he learns about everyone’s behavior that he repeatedly encounters.

A big help to the show is Barrett Doss as broadcast producer Rita Hanson, who, after some insulting face-offs with Phil, falls for him, as he does for her. She and Phil do some nifty singing.

Much has been written about Karl’s accident in the show and his need to miss performances (my original one to see the show was cancelled) before being able to return with a leg brace. The result has been smartly co-opted, with Karl flashing the comically looking brace as part of his costume. By now the injury doesn’t seem to impair his agility, rapid movements or magnetic stage presence.

“Groundhog Day” is an extremely busy show, with frequently moving scenic backgrounds of miniature houses and other gimmicks in the scenic design by Rob Howell, lighting design by Hugh Vanstone, video design by Andrzej Goulding, and assorted other technical contributors. Director Matthew Warchus mostly keeps up a fast pace. Thus this is a colorfully staged, acted and sung musical, with a large, good supporting cast. Explaining how all works out, as well as the original premise, engenders some head-scratching. But don’t ask, just enjoy. At the August Wilson Theatre, 245 West 52nd Street. Phone: 877-250-2929. Reviewed May 6, 2017.

SPAMILTON  Send This Review to a Friend

I have only just caught up with “Spamilton,” the timely spoof of the hit show “Hamilton,” and it could go on in tandem for as long as “Hamilton” runs. Creator, writer/director Gerard Alessandrini has used the same techniques that served him well in his “Forbidden Broadway” shows—mixing takes on various shows to satirize a particular one.

The result is an exuberantly funny spoof of “Hamilton,” which poses a challenge of building an entire production with the aim of satirizing only one target. But Alessandrini is resourceful. Most of “Spamilton” consists of rap lyrics in the manner of “Hamilton.”

A special target is “Hamilton"s creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, uproariously impersonated by Dan Rosales, who almost steals the show. I say almost, because there are others vying for the honor. Nicole Ortiz is great as the female star. She has a strong voice and the ability to refashion herself in a variety of nutty numbers for which comedy skills are required.

Compatriots in the satire are Chris Anthony Giles, Larry Owns and Tristan J. Shuler, with assists from Glenn Bassett as Guest King and Dorothy Kiara as Guest Diva at the performance I attended. They are an especially amusing lot, donning assorted costumes designed by Dustin Cross, and cutting up in choreography by Gerry McIntyre.

There are moments when the show wears a bit thin from the task of keeping up the fun with a lone target instead of the many shows ridiculed in the “Forbidden Broadway” incarnations, but there are lifts from the witty rap lyric rip-offs and the talent of the performing ensemble. At the Triad, 158 West 72nd Street. Phone: 212-279-4200. Reviewed May 13, 2017.


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