FRIENDS! The Musical Parody concludes its New York City run on December 31st.
Now playing at St. Luke’s Theater, FRIENDS! The Musical Parody lampoons the iconic 90s sitcom. While those unacquainted with the world of Friends are unlikely to enjoy, fans with even a general knowledge of the series’ running jokes will find something to love about this hilarious parody.
There’s plenty of inconsistencies and problems with the legendary ten-season show for the performers to work with. The play does a good job of balancing the parody of classic moments with overall jabs. How can Monica afford such a large apartment? Why has the gang never seen a black person? Are Chandler’s depressing jokes actually a cry for help? All these questions and more are answered in the two hour run time. It seemed like overkill to make the musical so long, but even with an intermission, time really flew by. The performance was over in what felt like a flash.
The entire cast is fantastic, particularly Landon Zwick as Ross and Katie Johantgen as Phoebe. You can immediately tell they are fans themselves, which is important with this sort of thing. Plenty of fan favorite characters show up (Janice, Ursula, Marcel the monkey, etc) all played by Seth Blum, who also takes on the role of Chandler. All the actors really captured the mannerisms of the layered characters they were portraying.
As far as off-Broadway shows go, the music was fine. There are a lot of songs, many parodies of real showtunes. Because you haven’t heard the lyrics before, it’s hard to pick up on every joke. Nonetheless, the majority of the songs are fantastic. Highlights include ‘How You Doin”, ‘Pivot’, and ‘The One Where They Make a Million Dollars an Episode’, a closing number detailing the stars’ post-Friends careers. Hopefully an official lyric book is published, because it’d be a shame for those fans who can’t attend to miss out.