Review: ‘Friends! The Musical Parody’ at St. Luke’s Theatre

By Jonathan Spira on 15 July 2018
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The television show “Friends” ran on NBC from 1994 to 2004, depicting the lives of six 20-something friends who lived in New York City.  It became one of the most popular television shows of all time, garnering a total of 62 Emmy Award nominations, and inspired an Off-Broadway show, “Friends! The Musical Parody.”

Created by Tobly and Bob McSmith, who also created “Bayside! The Saved by the Bell Musical” and “90210! The Musical,” “Friends! The Musical Parody” opened last November at St. Luke’s Theatre and was originally set to run only through the end of 2017. Its popularity however resulted in several extensions but the show will close for good on July 22.

“Friends” (the television show) had great influence beyond the small screen, impacting fashion, style, language, even hairstyles, and as a result, it still has a considerable fan base 14 years later, although many of the audience members we saw in the theater recently were likely to have only seen the show in reruns.


The musical pays homage to important aspects of the original series including the unending Rachel-Ross saga to something common in 1990s television shows set in Manhattan, namely how 20-somethings with limited visible means of support, such as Monica (Lisa Graye), could afford a huge apartment, a subject hilariously covered by the song “495 Grove Street.”

Visually and in terms of stage presence, most of the cast – Monica, Ross (Landon Zwick), Chandler (Seth Blum), Phoebe (Katie Johantgen), Rachel (Patricia Sabulis), and Joey (Alan Trinca) – captures the look and essence of the original ensemble enough so that theatergoers who are fans of the show won’t stop to think about this aspect.

Blum, with great hilarity, plays several other roles including Janice “Oh My God” Phosenstein, Marcel the Monkey, Paolo the Italian Stallion, and Ursula, Phoebe’s evil twin sister.

The first act takes us through the show’s first three seasons, mostly set at the Central Perk coffee shop where the friends spend their carefree days sipping coffee out of mugs that are as large as the cast members’ heads. The audience is clearly appreciative of the cast’s ability to duplicate the mannerisms and speech patterns of their television counterparts.

The second act moves a bit faster and further away from the plot of the television show.

The show’s original music, by Assaf Gleizner, is at its best when borrowing from “Seasons of Love” from “Rent” and, towards the end, throws in a taste of the television show’s theme song for good measure.

While the television show will live on in reruns for decades to come, there’s not much time left to see this entertaining parody and you may not want to miss it – and you’ll want to take your friends with you.


Friends! The Musical Parody
St. Luke’s Theatre
308 West 46th Street
New York, N.Y. 10036
RuntimeOne hour and 47 minutes

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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