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Ilford production of rip-roaring show to poke fun at all your favourite musicals

PUBLISHED: 10:00 13 February 2016

The cast of The Lion King stage show. Picture: Niall Carson/PA

The cast of The Lion King stage show. Picture: Niall Carson/PA

PA/Press Association Images

Parodies of the West End’s greatest hits are set to delight audiences in Ilford.

Harry Ward and Michelle Bock rehearsing for the Kenneth More Theatre's production of Forbidden Broadway. Picture: Steven DayHarry Ward and Michelle Bock rehearsing for the Kenneth More Theatre's production of Forbidden Broadway. Picture: Steven Day

Kenneth More Theatre’s production Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits opened to theatregoers yesterday and will entertain them again today, with performances at 3pm and 7.30pm.

The venue’s manager, and show director, Steven Day said the production, which first opened to audiences in New York in 1982, is all about “taking the mickey” out of classic tunes from shows such as Wicked, Chicago and Annie.

The original version was written and directed by American playwright Gerard Alessandrini.

“I first saw it in New York and it’s been there for years – it takes the mickey out of musicals and situations in musicals and it’s just a really funny, entertaining night out,” said Steven.

Sasha Herst rehearsing for the Kenneth More Theatre's production of Forbidden Broadway. Picture: Steven DaySasha Herst rehearsing for the Kenneth More Theatre's production of Forbidden Broadway. Picture: Steven Day

“It’s all your favourite songs changed slightly – it’s really good fun. It’s had a great season in the West End, so we’ve decided to run it at KMT too.”

The cast of six have had to re-learn all the classics with the adapted lyrics, which is the biggest challenge for them, according to Steven.

“It’s great fun working on it and I have got a great cast,” he said.

“But the most complicated part is knowing these songs and not singing the original words – it’s really hard, but they’re loving it.”

The cast of Wicked in the West End. Picture: PAThe cast of Wicked in the West End. Picture: PA

Steven, who will accompany the vocalists on piano, said the theatre’s adaptation of the show will have all the highlights of a big production, while maintaining an intimate feel.

“My favourite part is where there’s a complete mickey-take of Les Mis,” added Steven.

“It’s the most random show.

“But it’s something theatre-goers will love, there’s nothing offensive in it at all.”

Harry Ward rehearsing for the Kenneth More Theatre's production of Forbidden Broadway. Picture: Steven DayHarry Ward rehearsing for the Kenneth More Theatre's production of Forbidden Broadway. Picture: Steven Day

Previous productions have mocked musicals such as The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera, Spamalot, Newsies, Rent and Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

The director has called on the community, and those new to the theatre, to go along to the show in support of the venue, after Redbridge Council announced plans to cut its funding completely by 2018.

Steven said: “It’s about supporting us and trying something new and we have always said that.

“It’s really important that people can support us in any way they can, whether it’s as part of a production or as a volunteer, or even just by joining our Theatre Club.”

Cabaret the musical. Picture: Ian West/PACabaret the musical. Picture: Ian West/PA

For more information, call 020 8553 4466 or visit kmtheatre.co.uk.


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