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‘Friends’ parody musical cast shares key to portraying ‘90s sitcom favorites

The Off-Broadway production celebrated its 100th show.

The cast of "Friends! The Musical Parody" recites iconic lines from the '90s sitcom -- like, "We were on a break!" (Credit: Meghan Giannotta and David Handschuh)

The cast of “Friends! The Musical Parody” will be there for you … as long as you keep showing up to see them at Manhattan’s St. Luke’s Theater.

The Tobly and Bob McSmith-created musical -- which packs 10 seasons of whiny drama into two hours -- celebrated its 100th show Thursday night, one week after announcing its run was extended through September.

In honor of the million-dollar milestone, six New York City pals who consider themselves a real-life “Friends” cast of sorts won tickets to the production and a private after-party after entering an Instagram contest.

Winner Michelle Meditz, 22, said she’s a serious fan of the sitcom and was impressed by the musical’s mockery.

“I’ve watched it on Netflix like four times,” she said. (Haven’t we all?) “They did all the mannerisms and the accents so true to the story and put an entire song into my favorite ‘Friends’ moment (Pivot!).”

The Paul Stancato-directed show opens on Central Perk (the only coffee house in New York City) and continuously pokes fun at the ’90s series’ most memorable moments, from Rachel leaving Barry at the altar, to that ’80s Thanksgiving flashback and Ross’ “UNAGI.” Dozens of songs, composed and arranged by Assaf Gleizner, branch the scenes together. The cast breaks character for a few crowd-pleasing moments to reference the show’s glaring issues -- like how can Monica and Rachel really afford that apartment? -- and nod to the original actors’ career flops.

Even the biggest “Friends” fan has to admit, each key member of the original cast has certain quirks -- Phoebe’s spacey glare, Chandler’s long pauses -- leaving them open to such mockery. So, we asked the parody cast to fill us in on what makes their character tick.

Alan Trinca (aka Joey Tribbiani): “So, Joey, he’s very sporadic. He’s got a lot of sharp movements. He talks with his hands a lot -- very Italian -- it’s something that he and I have in common, but he’s extra with it. Also, he has a very pattern sort of way of talkin’. He’s got very expressive eyebrows, too. So there’s a lot of that.”

Lisa Graye (aka Monica Geller): “The two things I go for are the hands -- she’s like OCD washing the hands, always neurotic -- and the best way to describe it is like an anxiety bubble-up.”

Patricia Sabulis (aka Rachel Green): “She has a very specific way of speaking. It’s like a little back in her throat and in her nose. When I get into character I usually do the sounds she makes -- ‘Uh, what?!’ ‘Uh, yeah!’ She also uses her hands a lot and often acts like she feels defeated because, well, she’s a princess.”

Katie Johantgen (aka Phoebe Buffay): “Phoebe is obviously always wearing a lot of rings … She’s weighed down by that but also it gives her a little extra flare. Another thing about her is she’ll have a great idea and then is surprised by that idea -- she’ll go ‘Oh … OH!’ -- everything is very exciting to Phoebe at all times.”

Landon Zwick (aka Ross Geller): “Ross keeps a lot of his comedy in his neck and is always making weird noises. I try to do weird things like that before the show starts.”

Seth Blum (aka Chandler Bing): “The hands in the pockets, fidgety but always looking for comedy. He’s always looking for a laugh.”

Bob McSmith (aka Gunther): “I’m a method actor, so I actually was a barista for six months in preparation for this role. I learned how to make espresso, cappuccino, café au lait, americano, tall white, tall dark and stormy …”

Tickets for the production start at $44 for general entry and can be purchased at friendsthemusicalparody.com. Showtimes are listed Wednesdays through Sundays.

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