Eldorado's 'Broadway' fast fun; big bands at Brewery

Broadway musicals have long been considered the froth on the serious plays there, but they just keep coming along. That even the most serious have a tingle of unwitting self-mockery is rarely acknowledged.

Rarely, until "Forbidden Broadway" came along. Now the askew look at Broadway musicals is playing at the Eldorado Casino in Reno. And playing is the right word as the four actors run through 22 laughable views such as "Annie" (she smokes), "Mary Poppins" (she's dressed right with an umbrella but doesn't get the words right) and "The Impossible Dream" (it's the "Impossible song" here).

The costume changes are fast as Danica Connors, Kristen Mengelkoch, Billy Kimmel and Brian Patrick Miller skitter about. Somehow everybody gets on stage correctly mis-attired in maybe 30 seconds change time. Rarely has any stage seen so few people doing so many roles in so many costumes.

This is a welcome change from the usual Eldorado show featuring chorus girls, moonlighting one-time stars, Chinese acrobats or kung fu masters. This show has real wit, even if you have to strain at times to catch it all. And one man deserves the credit for it all (yes, he had help), but Gerard Alessanrini created, wrote and originally directed "Forbidden Broadway." He has a fine sense of satire that shows throughout the show.

And providing the solid foundation of it all musically is one-time Carson City lady, Catherine Stornetta, a marvel on the keyboard when she's not back in Boston. She's a Carson City, Minden and rural ranch girl. A Carson High grad. She does us well.

Sophisticated show? Not really. But a very welcome change from all those chorus girls and incredible gymnasts.

Tickets are from $30.95 for adults, from $25.95 for seniors, from $35.95 for VIP seating and from $40.95 for producer seating. Call (800) 648-5966 or 786-5700.

BIG MUSIC, BIG BANDS

The Mile High-Carson High Jazz Extravaganza," two big bands play in a live concert Saturday at 7:30 p.m. A steamroller of sound with the Mile High Jazz Band and the Carson High School Jazz Band rocking away. Well, maybe not rocking in the pop music form, but rocking with fine sounds. At the Performance Hall, 511 W. King St. A benefit for the high schoolers trip to Moscow, Idaho, for the Lionel Hampton jazz clinic.

TOURING ACTS

Liza Minnelli began performing at a very young age, and hasn't stopped since. Witness a performing legend live on-stage Saturday. Tickets are $85 and $125. Show time is 7:30 p.m. Call (800) 786-8208.

Boyz II Men has firmly cemented itself in the upper echelon of music history. Catch Boyz II Men on Saturday and Sunday at John Ascuaga's Nugget in Sparks.

Boyz II Men plays at 8 p.m. Tickets are $45 at (800) 648-1177 or (775) 356-3300 or by visiting janugget.com.

Jo Dee Messina appears for three nights in the Celebrity Showroom, Jan. 24-26, at John Ascuaga's Nugget. Messina plays at 8 p.m. Tickets are $50.

Affable funnyman David Spade brings his wit to the South Shore Room at Harrah's Lake Tahoe Sunday. Spade is on stage at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $60 plus tax. Call (800) 786-8208 .

The Brewery Arts Center and KOZZ present a revival of the classic rock band Sugarloaf Jan. 26. Sugarloaf appears at 7:30 p.m. in the Performance Hall, 511 W. King St. Tickets are $18. Call 883-1976 or visit www.breweryarts.org.

APOLOGY

Thoughtlessly, I left my cell phone on as I was expecting a call from some German visitors. It went off during "Sweeney Todd" and I didn't have the brains to get up and take the call in the lobby. A viewer poked me in the back. Sorry 'bout that.

HOT ON THE WEB

If you want to find out what's playing at the local cineplex and have lost your daily Appeal, see nevadaappeal.com for a listing of what's playing, where and when. Goes online Fridays. Lots of other news on the entertainment slot about video games, music, books and films.

• Contact Sam Bauman at 881-1236 or sbauman@nevadaappeal.com.

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