Forbidden Broadway to Play London's Menier Chocolate Factory; Casting Announced

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17 Apr 2009

Gerard Alessandrini
Gerard Alessandrini
The long-running Off-Broadway satirical revue Forbidden Broadway will return to London for the first time in a decade, beginning a season at the Menier Chocolate Factory June 25, prior to an official opening on July 2, for a run to Sept. 13.

Last seen in London in 1999 at Jermyn Street Theatre before transferring to the West End's Albery Theatre — under the auspices of producer David Babani, who now runs the Menier — the London cast will comprise Anna-Jane Casey, Sophie-Louise Dann, Alasdair Harvey and Steven Kynman.

Gerard Alessandrini is billed as creator, writer and director, and Philip George as director. Set designs are by Morgan Large, with costumes designs by the late Alvin Colt, lighting by David Howe and musical direction by Joel Fram. Forbidden Broadway is presented in association with John Freedson and Harriet Yellin.

Forbidden Broadway was first seen at Palsson's Supper Club in New York January 1982. Unemployed actor Gerard Alessandrini wanted a showcase for his talents and put together as a nightclub act, a selection of some of the musical parodies of Broadway shows he had written. It has gone on to play a number of venues since then to become New York's longest-running musical comedy revue, winning Drama Desk, Obie and Outer Critics Circle Awards, and receiving a special Tony Award in 2006 for Excellence in Theatre. Its most recent Off-Broadway incarnation, Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab, ended its run at the 47th Street Theatre on March 1, 2009.

According to press materials, Forbidden Broadway presents an informal look at the history of the American musical theatre, lampooning and spoofing some of the current and contemporary musicals as well as targeting actors, directors, composers and writers. This updated version created specially for the Menier Chocolate Factory, will feature numbers from some of the best theatre productions seen both on Broadway and in the West End in recent years, including old favorites The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misèrables; they also have their sights set on Hairspray, Avenue Q, Wicked, Jersey Boys, La Cage aux Folles, Sunday in the Park with George and more.



Anna-Jane Casey was last seen at the Menier Chocolate Factory as the original Dot in Sunday in the Park with George. Most recently she has been reprising the role of Velma in Chicago. Her other extensive West End theatre credits include Cats, Children of Eden, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Out of the Blue, Starlight Express and West Side Story. She has appeared as Sophie in "EastEnders" and Linda Kemp in "The Bill." She has recently filmed guest lead roles in "Heartbeat" and "Holby City."

Sophie-Louise Dann appeared in Forbidden Broadway at the Jermyn Street Theatre and Albery Theatre when the production was last in the UK. Her theatre credits include The Music Man, How to Succeed in Business, The Government Inspector, Seven Doors and Out of This World (all at Chichester Festival Theatre), The Mikado, Iolanthe and The Pirates of Penzance at the Gielgud Theatre, the UK tours of High Society and The Boyfriend as well as HMS Pinafore and The Yeoman of the Guard at the Savoy Theatre.

Alasdair Harvey was last seen at the Menier Chocolate Factory playing the roles of Dennis and the Boatman in Sunday in the Park with George, continuing the role when the show transferred to the West End's Wyndham's Theatre. His most recent theatre credits include Come Dancing at the Theatre Royal Stratford East and Side by Side by Sondheim at the Venue. His West End credits include Beauty and the Beast, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misèrables, Sunset Boulevard and Aspects of Love.

Steven Kynman appeared at the Menier Chocolate Factory in Sunday in the Park with George, in which he played the role of Franz, and continued with it to the West End's Wyndham's. Most recently he played Bernard in Death of a Salesman at Theatre Royal York and Prince Herbert in Monty Python's Spamalot at the Palace Theatre.

To book tickets, contact the box office at 020 7907 7060 or visit www.menierchocolatefactory.com.