Caisa Borromeo ,

Just Kidding: A Review on Forbidden Broadway's Greatest Hits

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L-R Lorenz Martinez, Liesl Batucan, Joel Trinidad, Caisa Borromeo and OJ Mariano
Joel Trinidad is a name that equates to Aliw Award Winner Actor, wonderful writer, talented lyricist and good director. When I first heard of Upstart Productions which Joel co-founded with his wife Emerita Alcid (American Musical Dramatic Academy alumnae & make up artist), with friend Onyl Torres (stage actor, vocal coach and musical director) and his father Noel Trinidad (multi-awarded performer & celebrity), I know that this production company will bring something out-of-the-box.

Forbidden Broadway was first shown in Broadway on May 4, 1982. It is intelligently written by Gerard Alessandrini finally found its way here in Manila! (Thanks to Joel!) With a goal to make fun of Broadway's popular shows like Chicago, Les Miserables, Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Mamma Mia!, Rent, Hairspray, Fiddler on the Roof and other shows, this show also made fun of Broadway's popular personalities like Barbara Streisand, Liza Minnelli, Stephen Sondheim, etc.

"Chicago" with Caisa Borromeo

"Hairspray" with Caisa Borromeo

Liesl Batucan as Annie

Liesl Batucan as Barbara Streisand

"Cats" with Lorenz Martinez

"Rent" with OJ Mariano and Lorenz Martinez

Liesl Batucan as Liza Minnelli

"Mamma Mia!" with Liesl Batucan and Caisa Borromeo

Caisa Borromeo and OJ Mariano as The Phantom

L-R Caisa Borromeo, Lorenz Martinez, OJ Mariano and Liesl Batucan

"Monty Pithon's Spamalot" with OJ Mariano and Caisa Borromeo

Sondheim's Creations with Liesl Batucan, OJ Mariano and Caisa Borromeo

L-R OJ Mariano, Liesl Batucan and Lorenz Martinez

"Wicked" with OJ Mariano, Caisa Borromeo and Lorenz Martinez


Liesl Batucan

Caisa Borromeo

Well, I haven't watched all the shows that were made fun of but I found the show very funny and interesting. There are times when I'm not familiar with the personality that was being portrayed yet, I laugh my heart out from the punchlines that came out of nowhere. It's like watching a stand-up comedy in a bar but I'm actually in a theater! Somehow, the show also has made me curious to watch the other shows that I haven't watched yet just for me to know if I'll feel the same way the writer did.

There are only 4 actors in this show namely Liesl Batucan, Caisa Borromeo, OJ Mariano and Lorenz Martinez. All these actors are personally handpicked by Joel since they have all proven their worth of being good actors from their previous projects. Liesl is a two-time Aliw Award Winner for Best Actress. Caisa recently won the award for Best Female Lead Performance In A Musical at 2010 Philstage Gawad Buhay Awards for her portrayal of Jo March in Repertory Philippines's Little Women. OJ has won an Awit Award for Best Performance by a New Male Recording Artist in 2006. Lorenz is an international artist who have been part of Miss Saigon in the Netherlands, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee in Singapore and he was the voice of Stitch in Hong Kong Disneyland. With these 4 accomplished actors directed by Joel, one can experience something extraordinary when watching them.

Liesl Batucan

Caisa Borromeo
It is amazing how these people transform into different persona every time they appeared on stage within the two hours of watching them. The lights helped in making the actors portray their roles. The actors are very good in changing into their costumes in a snap with no dead air. I've asked during the press preview on how they managed to change in such a quick pace. According to Caisa, she learned how to put on and take off her costumes in the easiest and quickest way possible. Liesl added that there are some scenes where they're wearing multiple costumes underneath and it's their staff who are really good in helping them put on and take off their costumes. Bravo to the staff!

Lorenz Martinez
Caisa Borromeo and Lorenz Martinez

(Right) OJ Mariano
An important and crucial role for the success of this show is the pianist Dingdong Fiel who is also the Musical Director. Aside from playing the piano, he also made some expressions which helped build up the changing atmosphere. He also played a bit role which one should watch out for!

Dingdong Fiel with Liesl Batucan
A unique feat of this show is that there will be different guest performers on each show that will surprise the audience. Famous Filipino performers like Nyoy Volante, Jett Pangan, Aiza Siguerra, Cherie Gil, Lea Salonga and many more will be appearing in one of the scenes which one have to watch out! During the press preview, the surprise performer is the veteran actor father of Joel, Mr. Noel Trinidad! As expected, he is funny as always and his stage presence can be felt naturally. I saw him perform twice this year. The first in Rivalry: Ateneo-La Salle The Musical and this is the second time. I hope he performs more musicals!

Surprise Performer of the May 10, 8pm Show: Noel Trinidad
Forbidden Broadway is now showing on every Friday & Saturday at 8pm and every Saturday & Sunday at 3pm until May 27, 2012 at Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati.

The rest of the artistic and creative team of this show is Martin Esteva (Lighting Designer), Lawyn Cruz (Production Designer) who I must say is a very talented production designer who have been with numerous Atlantis Productions's shows, and Onyl Torres (Vocal Coach).

The production staff is composed of Bernice Aspillaga-Canete (Production Manager), Mariko Yasuda (Business Manager) and Lani Tapia (Stage Manager).

The marketing, sales and publicity team is headed by Toots Tolentino (PR & Publicity), Ian Ardiente (Marketing Manager), Mahar Mangahas (Marketing Consultant) and Stanley Ong (Photographer).

If one wants to have a good time and relax on a weekend, this show is just perfect! The missing part of this show are some martinis and bar chow but then, one can go have some after the show since the venue is just in Makati.
Don't they look hilarious enough to tickle your funny bone?

For tickets and inquiries about this show, call Upstart Productions at 0917-5285678 or email upstarttickets@gmail.com or upstartproductionsinc@gmail.com. The tickets can also be bought at www.ticketworld.com.ph.

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