The jesting is fun and entertaining for the first half of each segment, but it tends to go overboard. After all, these are beloved classics, and there are only a finite number of flaws in them. Each snippet of a show is packed with so many quips and jabs at the original production that it loses the original beauty and artistry.
But “Broadway Abridged” is redeemed by its outstanding mix of quirky and eclectic characters. Standout actors in each snippet provide an extra touch of whimsy that make the production, though a little cynical, worth watching.
The first of the adaptations, “The Glass Menagerie,” had the house roaring with laughter at suggestive innuendos and exorbitant personality.
“Legally Blonde” plays on the triviality of the plot, but that became a bit boring after a while. As the show’s 15 minutes drew to a close, the audience was about one proclamation of “OMG” away from drowning in the glitzed-out girls’ Chanel No. 5.
The production picked up with the installment of “Wicked,” in which the cast satirized Kristin Chenoweth’s dominance over the show. The company’s Chenoweth, played by Natalie Myrick, was the spunk behind this adaptation.
References to beloved UNC landmarks made the “Wicked” adaptation freshly entertaining and gave it local color. But the metaphors were obvious after 10 minutes, and the program stretched on for what seemed like another hour.
The last two installments – “West Side Story” and “The Phantom of the Opera” – had their bright moments, as well. For the first time in “Broadway Abridged,” the audience heard a singing voice fit for a musical in Tony, played by Jack Utrata.
While the whole concept of this show got a little old after a while, it was still a crowd-pleaser. The lackluster plot lines were cultivated and manifested by talented actors who added an extra push to the production, transgressing the limitations placed on them by their actual lines.
Staff writer Elizabeth Baker saw “Broadway Abridged” on Friday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. She gives the show three stars out of five.