Caisa Borromeo, Lorenz Martinez, OJ Mariano,
and Liesl Batucan star in the Philippine premiere of
the smash Off-Broadway parody "Forbidden
Broadway." Photo by Jory Rivera
by Oliver Oliveros,

Co-written by Jude Cartalaba

Manila, Philippines, May 17, 2012 – Theater actor, writer, and director Gerard Alessandrini’s brainchild, the 30-year-old Off-Broadway hit parody series “Forbidden Broadway,” finally premiered at Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza in Makati City last weekend. Joel Trinidad, Upstart Productions’ president and the show’s director, had picked “Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits,” which has two volumes to date, and features some of the more popular spoofs of Broadway musicals and theater legends culled from more than a dozen “Forbidden Broadway” editions.

Versatile thespians Liesl Batucan (“Next Fall,” “Seussical”), Caisa Borromeo (“Little Women,” “Footloose”), OJ Mariano (“Rent,” “Sweet Charity”), and Lorenz Martinez (“Spelling Bee,” “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”) top-bill “Forbidden Broadway's Greatest Hits." During the press preview last Thursday night, there was never a dull moment, even though there were some musical theater references not too familiar with young theatergoers, i.e. Mandy Patinkin’s over-the-top tenor, or Ethel Merman’s quavering vibrato.

Nevertheless, Batucan delighted the crowd as she poked fun at a grown-up orphan Annie from “Annie;” Broadway’s favorite leading lady Carol Channing, whose most popular stage role was that of matchmaker Dolly Levi in “Hello Dolly!;” and American actress and singer Liza Minnelli, whose claim to international fame was her role as Sally Bowles in the ‘70s film adaptation of the Broadway musical “Cabaret.”

Mariano was very effective playing Cameron Mackintosh who explained why the theater producer’s shows, such as “Les Miserables,” “Cats,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” and “Miss Saigon,” among others, were big hits.

Borromeo stole the show when she parodized Broadway diva Idina Menzel’s Tony Award-winning portrayal of the notorious Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, in “Wicked.”

Martinez, donning black tights, was outright hilarious in his spoof of “Cats.”

On Thursday’s preview, Trinidad’s father, Noel Trinidad, was featured performer, who sung a takeoff of “Bring Him Home” from “Les Miserables.” (Jett Pangan of “Jekyll and Hyde” and “Rock of Ages” did the same number on last Friday’s opening night.) Lea Salonga, Aiza Seguerra, Nyoy Volante, Iya Villania, Nikki Valdez, Markki Stroem, and Gabe Mercado are expected to guest star as well.

“Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits” features Martin Esteva’s lighting design, Lawyn Cruz’s production design, Onyl Torres’ musical direction, and Dingdong Fiel's piano accompaniment. The show runs until Sunday, May 27.

For tickets, call Upstart Productions at +639175285678 or email or Tickets are also available through Ticketworld at (632) 8919999 or log on to

For more photos, click HERE.

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