Well, Alessandrini’s vow of retirement lasted as long as a slug in salt, so here we are again, God help us. He tries to paint his chronic inability to shut up as some kind of triumphant return, but I have to take issue with his ceaselessly repeated self-description of ‘spoof’ in the opening number, since screaming the house down about how much you hate something isn’t really a ‘spoof’ in the classic sense of the word.
The show tries to pass itself off as comedy, but is really just one more episode in Alessanadrini’s apoplectic hatred for literally everything on Broadway in the modern era. The man even manages to come up with complaints about such seemingly unassailable modern classics as The Book of Mormon (or as he calls it, “The Book of Morons”) and Once…is there anything this guy doesn’t hate? He even heaps abuse on every critic’s darling, Audra McDonald, something I’ve never heard any critic do. And if you think I’m kidding about the universality of his hatred, he openly acknowledges it himself, in an Anything Goes parody called “Everything Blows”. I’m sorry, but when Ethan Mordden has a more positive view of musical theater’s future than you, you really ought to ask yourself if the problem might be on your end, Gerard.
All this might be slightly more forgivable if Alessandrini were the last bastion of classical Broadway genius, but he kind of emphatically isn’t, and the writing on display here makes even the weaker shows he parodies look good. His attack on Kelli O’Hara for not being funny enough in Nice Work If You Can Get It is particularly rich from a guy who can’t even get laughs making fun of a prime target like the Spider-Man musical (seriously, a “Sue Me” parody? Creative.) And as for his attack on the Porgy and Bess revival, regurgitating the talking points from Sondheim’s letter with a few uninspired song fragments woven in isn’t really a ‘spoof’ either. Yes, Sondheim was right, but you’re just making yourself look lazy by appropriating the opinions of a better writer without adding any insights of your own.
There’s also a bit about the Evita revival with Ricky Martin, featuring the equally creative song “Livin’ Evita Loca” (wow! Take you all day to come up with that one?), mixed in with a parody of “Buenos Aires” abusing the female lead’s vocals (you know, there was a time Webber wouldn’t let this asshole use his own music to insult him, and I’d kind of like to go back to that time). And he found an excuse for another Patti LuPone spoof (is anyone surprised at this point?), here combined with the Mandy Patinken schtick recycled from “Somewhat Overindulgent” way back in this series’ infancy.
The only mild laughs come from the End of the Rainbow parody with Judy Garland commenting on her portrayal in the show, and even that was fairly obvious in both concept and execution. Even the impressions are the worst ever seen in one of these revues…they try so desperately hard to make the people they’re parodying (like Matthew Broderick or Catherine Zeta-Jones) sound legitimately terrible that they wind up sounding nothing whatsoever like those people, which kind of erases the point.
The critics, as always, rammed their heads right up Alessandrini’s ass because most of them have more or less the same view of modern Broadway he does, but he and his outlook are nothing but destructive and harmful to the art form, as well as only entertaining to people who are as bitter and hate-filled as himself, and I wish he would just crawl back into his hole for good.
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