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WHS Select Choir staging ‘Forbidden Broadway’

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The Watertown High School Select Choir is stepping into “forbidden” territory for its winter production.

The choir, under the direction of school music director Russel J. Faunce, will stage “Forbidden Broadway: Greatest Hits” at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the high school.

The show is a departure from traditional Broadway-based musicals the choir has done. Mr. Faunce said “Forbidden Broadway” gives him a chance to highlight the talents of several students.

“It’s giving a lot of kids an opportunity,” he said. “We always have trouble with a limited number of parts and a ton of kids who want those parts. This is giving about 30 kids a chance to showcase their talents.”

“Forbidden Broadway: Greatest Hits” is a satire of and tribute to hit musicals, ranging from “Fiddler on the Roof” to “Spamalot.”

“All of the original songs, musically, are in context, but they change the lyrics to kind of poke fun at the show,” Mr. Faunce said.

There have been nearly two dozen editions of “Forbidden Broadway” over the years, all performed off-Broadway. Its latest version is “Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking.” All were written by Gerard Alessandrini, who has received three Drama Desk awards for best lyrics for his “Forbidden Broadway” series.

In 2009, four members of the official “Forbidden Broadway” cast performed a concert with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra in Watertown.

In 2012, “Forbidden Broadway” returned with a new production, “Alive and Kicking,” after a three-year absence. The Associated Press called the show one of the 10 best “theater moments” of the year.

For “Forbidden Broadway: Greatest Hits,” Mr. Faunce said some dialogue connects the musical numbers.

He noted Select Choir members also need to act when they sing their parts.

“They are telling the story of the song, but at the same time, the lyrics are changed, and they are trying to be funny with that,” Mr. Faunce said. “That part has been a little bit of a growing experience for them.”

Among musicals getting the satirical treatment with “Forbidden Broadway: Greatest Hits” are “Chicago,” “Annie,” “Wicked,” “Mamma Mia,” “Cats,” “Les Miserables,” “Hairspray” and “A Chorus Line.” There also will be a tribute to Carol Channing.

The details
WHAT: Watertown High School Select Choir presents ‘Forbidden Broadway.’
WHEN/WHERE: 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday at WHS auditorium, 1335 Washington St.
COST: $7 and $5 for students and senior citizens.
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