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Arts and Entertainment

Springfield Little Theatre Presents "Forbidden Broadway's Greatest Hits" Onstage and Online

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(Poster design courtesy Springfield Little Theatre)
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The next production at Springfield Little Theatre is "Forbidden Broadway's Greatest Hits," written by Gerard Alessandrini, directed by Joshua David Smith with music direction by Kris Langston. The cast includes Dayna McConville, Zoe Zelonky, Jerrod Cate, and Chip Holderman. It's scheduled for Sept.10-20 at the Landers Theatre, 311 E. Walnut. Broadway’s greatest musical legends meet Broadway’s greatest satirists in this hilarious, loving, and endlessly entertaining tribute to some of the theatre’s greatest stars and songwriters. This show is rated PG-13.  Smith joined us on “Arts News” to talk about the challenges of producing a live stage production during a pandemic.                                                                             

The first challenge, said Smith, was enlarging the show for the Landers stage. “We’ve done the show before at Nathan P. Murphy’s, which was a more intimate setting. So taking a show that has such a strong fan base here in Springfield and moving it to the Landers stage was quite different.” There’s a much larger stage area to use, for one thing, so that added what Smith called “some tweaks to the show.” Then there’s the issue of maintaining social distancing with the four actors, “to make sure everyone is as safe as possible. That added some challenges as well.

“But it’s been exciting to take it to the ‘big leagues’, and we’re excited to bring this on a larger scale and to a bigger audience.”

“Forbidden Broadway” started in the 1980s in New York City, said Smith, and creator Gerard Alessandrini does periodic updates, in the form of spoofs and satirical takes, on various popular Broadway shows—“to poke fun at the shows themselves, or the actors who have made them famous. So, for the ‘Greatest Hits,’ we just took the best of the best and put them together in this show.  So, expect to see songs (and actors) from ‘Cats,’ ‘Les Miz,’ ‘Annie,’ ‘Wicked,’ ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ ‘Mamma Mia,’ just all the classics that everyone knows and loves. And we just take two hours to poke fun at them.”

SLT’s “Forbidden Broadway” opened Thursday night, and Smith says it went “great, and we’re expecting even larger crowds going into this weekend. It’s just so exciting to have live music and live theater again.”

Current COVID-19 policies at the Landers forbid audience members from choosing their own seats. A seating chart has been created, and your seating assignment will be sent via email. Normally seating around 600, social-distancing capacity at the Landers will be held down to about 120, said Smith, but both the orchestra floor and the balcony will be open for seating. Face masks are required of all audience members, staff and volunteers for this show. The Landers lobby is CLOSED before, during and after performances, no gathering in the lobby, come right into the auditorium.  No concessions available.  Audiences will be dismissed by row after the show.

And if you don't feel ready to come back live to the theater but still want to see the show, LT will live-stream each performance of the show so you can watch it in the comfort of your own home.  These aren’t pre-recorded performances, either—you’ll see the live show as it’s happening on the Landers stage. When you buy tickets to the streaming version of the show you'll get an email with an link to watch it; the link will be good for 24 hours from the time you receive the email. Tickets range from $20 to $30; show times are Thurs-Sat 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:00, Sept.10-20.  Call the Landers Box Office at 869-1334 M-F, Noon- 5 p.m. or online at https://www.springfieldlittletheatre.org/. Springfield Little Theatre wants to ensure that all of their audience members have a safe return to the theatre so please, if you are experiencing any COVID-like symptoms, or feeling ill in any way, please stay home and they’ll see you another time! 

Director Joshua David Smith summed up by saying, “Just come expecting to laugh for a solid two hours—phenomenal performers, great music, and just lots of laughs!”