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'Forbidden Broadway' at Arsht Center a happy homecoming for North Miami Beach native Gina Kreiezmar

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

By day, North Miami Beach native Gina Kreiezmar is parent coordinator at her son Max's old elementary school in New York. Later, she cuts loose in the satiric Forbidden Broadway, performing a wacky turn as Patti LuPone in Gypsy.

"It's like when you see a really good impersonator, you believe that person is
standing there,'' says Kreiezmar, who appears Tuesday through Dec. 26 in Forbidden Broadway at the Adrienne Arsht Center. "I'm trying to make sure every lyric is crystal clear, although at one point 'Patti LuPone' mumbles … which [the real-life star] does from time to time.''

Kreiezmar, 46, graduated North Miami Beach Senior High in 1982, got a bachelor's in music at University of Miami in '86 and then apprenticed at the old Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre in Jupiter.

"I took classes from huge icons: Charles Nelson Reilly, Liza Minnelli, Carol Burnett, Burt Reynolds, obviously. Major people. We kind of learned not to fawn on these superstars. They were just there in their sweat pants.''

Kreiezmar and her actor-husband Robert Goodman (also of North Dade) moved to New York about 20 years ago to pursue careers in the theater. She sang in the Rainbow Room in Manhattan and at bar mitzvahs and weddings in Long Island.

About 1990, Kreiezmar wrote a letter to Gerard Alessandrini, Forbidden Broadway's writer-director.

"I said, 'I'd really like to audition for your show, please, please, please,'‚'' Kreiezmar recalls. "He kept my resume for a year and a half.''

Eventually, she got a job as an understudy in Forbidden Broadway, which first opened in 1982.

"I remained an understudy for many, many years. I was guaranteed a performance every other Saturday,'' she says.

It took 18 years for Kreiezmar to be promoted to lead performer, impersonating Broadway stars including LuPone, Minnelli, Barbra Streisand and Ethel Merman.

She has performed the show all over the world, including China, South Africa and aboard a Regent Seven Seas cruise ship.

"Forbidden Broadway has opened many doors for me,'' she says. "How great to come back to the Arsht Center and do the show in your hometown.''

IF YOU GO

Forbidden Broadway runs Dec. 14-26 at the Carnival Studio Theater at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. General admission tickets are $45. Call 305-949-6722 or visit www.arshtcenter.org.

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