This off-Broadway hit pokes hilarious but loving fun of Broadway's greatest legends. "Forbidden Broadway" is an endlessly entertaining tribute to some of the theater's greatest stars and songwriters.
Gerald Alessandrini is the Creator and Writer of "Forbidden Broadway" and is the recipient of the 2001 Drama Desk Award for Best Musical Revue for "Forbidden Broadway". He is best known for writing and directing all the editions of"Forbidden Broadway" and "Forbidden Hollywood", in New York, Los Angeles, London and around the world. In 1982, he created and wrote "Forbidden Broadway", which has spawned 15 editions, seven cast albums and a 25-year-and-counting run in New York. Gerard is the recipient of an Obie Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award, two Lucille Lortel Awards and four Drama Desk Awards for "Forbidden Broadway", and a lifetime achievement award from the Drama League.
Forbidden Broadway has fun with some of Broadway's greatest shows including- Wicked,Hairspray, Rent, Annie, Le Miz, Chicago, Mama Mia, Spamalot, Fiddler on the Roof, and A Chorus Line and Broadway superstars- Stephen Sondheim, Carol Channing, Julie Andrews, Chita Rivera, Rita Moreno, Liza Minnelli, Barbra Streisand and Mandy Patinkin. If you loved the originals, you'll love the "Forbidden" version!
Forbidden Broadway - Review
What is it that is so magical about good plays and musicals that sucks you in and sprinkles you with fairy dust so you leave smiling and trading praises about how great it was.
Whatever name one might find for that wonderful energy, it goes far beyond the merely intellectual. At last night's production of Gerald Alessandrini's Forbidden Broadway, I was exhausted and distracted by a newly sprained foot; despite the fact that the revue has been running successfully for 25 years off Broadway, won the 2001 Drama Desk Award for Best Musical Revue and was directed and choreographed by our own award-winning Randy West, I would have much preferred to be home in bed. However, generous out-of-town friends had already bought the tickets and I felt obligated to attend.
For about the first ten minutes, I managed enough stubbornness to resist, complained silently about it being parodies of plays I'd never seen, like Chicago and Carol Channing, when the magic sneeked up and grabbed me. Suddenly I was laughing and applauding just like everyone else. I found I didn't have to know every play for the spoofs to make me laugh. When I had seen classics like Annie, Wicked, Cats, Rent, Hairspray, and Sondheim's Into the Woods, the spoofs were deliciously funnier. My favorite was Fiddler on the Roof, which changed the iconic Tradition! song into thunderbolts of Ambition! and Attention! that shot the audience into roars of laughter.
And where did this new voice come from? Robert Kemp certainly added some magic to the mix of favorites like Margaret Clair, Will Hart, Brendan Thomas, Priscilla Marlar, Lea McCormick, and Tina Nelson. They all deserve some kind of award (along with the backstage volunteers) not only for brining their characters to life with such flamboyant style but for quick costume changes as they switched from role to role.
During intermission, I overheard someone say, "It kept me alive all the way though—there's just no slow moments!" and the response, "I know—my face is sore from laughing so much."
Randy West deserves awards as well for his electric choreography. My thinking mind might have been dulled from pain medication, but movement not only speaks to the heart, it communicates beyond the limits of words. Combined with the multi-media (Robert Gottshall) showing scenes of famous actors and classic plays, and with music directed by Margaret Claire and piano by Jerry Lalag, West captured the essence of each Broadway classic so well that it didn't matter if one's intellect might be too slow to follow each word—the meaning was conveyed anyway, the magic happened, and, limping an inch or so off the ground, I left the theater as I always do after one of West's plays, grinning and leaving another trail of happy dust.