The Examiner

Cast Relishes Roles in Upcoming ‘Forbidden’ Arc Stages Production

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William Selby, center front, director of Arc Stages’ latest production “Forbidden Broadway,” with cast members, from left, Stephanie Maloney, Erik Schark, Lauren Singerman and John Maddaloni.

Buy a ticket to a musical comedy and the expectation is for side-splitting laughter, toe-tapping tunes and an overall enjoyable evening.

All the components are in place for that level of entertainment and more for three weekends starting Sept. 28 when Arc Stages in Pleasantville will present seven performances of Gerard Alessandrini’s “Forbidden Broadway.” The four-member cast in the uproarious production pokes fun at some of the best-known and beloved musicals from the mid-20th century to today.

“We thought what better show to do than a funny sort of tribute to Broadway, a cynical tribute to Broadway, if you could even call it a tribute,” said Adam Cohen, Arc Stages’ artistic director. “It’s just song after song and the antics of this show are spectacular and there’s impressions, there’s styles, there’s dance, it’s just a fun show and funny, and not every show is this hilarious.”

Cohen was able to secure William Selby to direct, someone who likely has more experience with this show than anyone since it was written more than 30 years ago. This is the 19th time that Shelby has been involved in a production of “Forbidden Broadway” – and it still makes him laugh every time, including at the cast’s recent rehearsals, he said.

The four actors featured in the production, all from various theatrical backgrounds, are Stephanie Maloney, Lauren Singerman, John Maddaloni and Erik Schark. The key to pulling off the multiple characters that each must play is versatility, Shelby said.

“The four of them impress me so much that when Adam and I knew it was going to be these four actors, we said, ‘Cross your fingers. If each one of them says yes, we’re going to have a great show,’” Selby said.

The diverse acting backgrounds of the cast helps. Schark said he had experience in an Off Broadway show once where he had to play seven or eight characters and was part of a production of “Avenue Q,” which covered three or four.

“It’s like musical sketch comedy and you’re in a completely different world from song to song,” he said. “So it’s not only changing the characterizations but it’s also, you’re in totally different styles, you’re in a totally different show. You’re in the world of “Hamilton,” then you’re in the world of “Les Mis.”

Familiarity with the shows they’re lampooning helped Maloney. A self-described nerd growing up, she loved musical theater and has some awareness of all the parodies of the shows used in “Forbidden Broadway.” She even has the advantage of having been part of the traveling tour of “Chicago.”

“I’m really looking forward to singing some music that I don’t really think I will ever really be able to sing again in a more traditional music setting,” explained Maloney of why she’s looking forward to opening night. “I don’t know, I probably won’t ever be in ‘Hamilton,’ just being honest with myself. So it’s going to be really fun to be able to do that here and to have fun with it.”

For Singerman, who has participated in roles from regular theater to Shakespeare, said because “Forbidden Broadway” is so different from what she has previously done, that will be her greatest challenge.

“It’s a special challenge because we’re juggling impressions of the characters and that we’re playing along with impressions for 75 minutes straight and songs that are packed to the brim with lyrics,” Singerman said.

Maddaloni, who has done voiceover work and sketch comedy, said while the show is fun you also have to guard against having it fall into schtick.

Selby said he can promise that audiences will have a great time.

“I really believe this show is going to be top-notch, so come and see it,” he said. “Everybody should come and see it because it’s going to be really good.”

Following its Sept. 28 opening, there will be performances on Sept. 29, Oct. 5, 6, 7, 12 and 13. All shows are at 8 p.m. except a 2 p.m. matinee on Oct. 7. Tickets are $36 for adults and $28 for seniors and students. For tickets and more information, call 914-747-6206 or visit

Arc Stages is located at 147 Wheeler Ave. in Pleasantville.


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