Forbidden Broadway

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Forbidden Broadway
LyricsGerard Alessandrini
BookGerard Alessandrini
BasisBroadway musicals
Productions1982 Off-Broadway

Forbidden Broadway is an Off-Broadway revue parodying musical theatre, particularly Broadway musicals. It was conceived, written and directed by Gerard Alessandrini.


The original version of the revue opened on January 15, 1982, at Palsson's Supper Club in New York City and ran for 2,332 performances.[1] Alessandrini has rewritten the show more than a dozen times over the years to include parodies of newer shows. In the original iteration of the show, Alessandrini was one of the original actors alongside the actress Nora Mae Lyng, whom Alessandrini said he "created it for.".[2] Michael Chapman directed and produced.[3] In 1982, Jeff Martin succeeded Chapman as director. Alessandrini assumed the directing position subsequently, with Phillip George, Alessandrini's long-time collaborator, co-directing or directing all of the editions of the revue since 2004.[4]

The show, in its various editions, received over 9,000 performances by 2009 and has been seen in more than 200 U.S. cities as well as playing in London, Tokyo, Singapore and Sydney.[5]


The show is a cabaret revue sharply spoofing show tunes, characters and plots of contemporary and current Broadway musicals. Forbidden Broadway and its many sequels have mocked popular shows like The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Les Misérables, The Lion King, Spamalot, Annie, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Rent and Newsies. The revue also targets famous Broadway actors, writers, composers, directors, choreographers and producers, including Julie Andrews, Mel Brooks, Carol Channing, Kristin Chenoweth, Michael Crawford, Harvey Fierstein, Bob Fosse, Whoopi Goldberg, Robert Goulet, Jerry Herman, Dustin Hoffman, Elton John, Angela Lansbury, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Patti LuPone, Cameron Mackintosh, Mary Martin, Ethel Merman, Liza Minnelli, Rita Moreno, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters, Chita Rivera, Stephen Sondheim, Barbra Streisand, Julie Taymor and Gwen Verdon.[3][6][7]

Forbidden Broadway is performed as a four or five-person show, with two men, two women, and most recently, a teen, and piano accompaniment. Forbidden Broadway has released more than a dozen albums, as well as one entitled Forbidden Hollywood, a cast album of the show of the same title by Alessandrini. Like Forbidden Broadway, Forbidden Hollywood is made up of parodies, except that it targets movies rather than musicals. The New York and Los Angeles-based companies of both Forbidden incarnations have served as a workshop for rising talent to hone their skills. Alumni include Jason Alexander,[8] Brad Oscar,[9] Christine Pedi,[10] Bryan Batt,[11] Michael McGrath,[12] Chloe Webb,[8] Barbara Walsh,[13] Ann Morrison,[8] and many more.

In 2006, the show and Alessandrini were awarded Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre.[14] It has been nominated five times for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revue, winning three times (2001, 2005 and 2008).[15][16][17] It also won Drama Desk Special Awards in 1985[18] and 2009.[19] Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab ended its run Off-Broadway on March 1, 2009.[6] In 2009 a book of "Best of" lyrics and the show's history was published under the title Forbidden Broadway: Behind The Mylar Curtain.[20]

The show, in its various editions through 2009, received over 9,000 performances and been seen in more than 200 U.S. cities as well as in London, Tokyo, Singapore[5] and Adelaide, Australia, where it played for the only time with an orchestra at the 2002 Adelaide Cabaret Festival.[21] A 2009 review of the London production, in Britain's The Independent, commented: "Actors have always poked fun at the foibles of commercial theatre. ... Usually, though, they keep their parodies to themselves. It takes a touch of genius to turn them into something saleable, but writer Gerald Alessandrini has that Midas touch."[7] The original artwork advertising the show was designed by caricaturist Ken Fallin, who suggested the actors find the name "Nina" written on their bodies as an homage to Al Hirschfeld, who was known for working his daughter's name into his drawings.[22]

A 2012/13 version of the show, Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking!, played in New York[23] and was revived in 2014.[24] Another Off-Broadway version, Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging, played in 2014 at the Davenport Theatre.[4] A London edition in 2014 began at the Menier Chocolate Factory[25] and transferred to the Vaudeville Theatre, starring Christina Bianco, Anna-Jane Casey, Damian Humbley and Ben Lewis, with Phillip George directing.[26] In 2019, Forbidden Broadway Salutes Carol Channing played a celebration show for the late Carol Channing in New York.[27] A brand new Off-Broadway edition, Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation, is currently playing in New York City at the York Theatre.[28]

Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation began previews on September 18, 2019 and opened on October 16, 2019 at New York's The Triad Theatre.[29] The show was conceived, created and written by Alessandrini[30] and was directed by Alessandrini. Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation closed at The Triad on December 1, 2019. The show did a special limited engagement at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, FL from December 27–31, 2019.[31] On January 15, 2020, Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation resumed performances Off-Broadway at The York Theatre Company at Saint Peter's in New York.[32]

The plays and musicals parodied in Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation include Dear Evan Hansen, Moulin Rouge!, Tootsie, The Ferryman, Hadestown, Fiddler on the Roof, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Oklahoma, Mary Poppins, The Prom, and Fosse/Verdon. The personalities portrayed include Lin-Manuel Miranda, Judy Garland, Billy Porter and Harold Prince.[33][32]

Editions of Forbidden Broadway[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "List of long runs in London and the world". Archived from the original on April 2, 2010.
  2. ^ Roberts, Sam (May 25, 2017). "Nora Mae Lyng, Actress at the Heart of 'Forbidden Broadway,' Dies at 66". Times. New York. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Wilson, John S. "Upper West Side Is Home to Offbeat Music; Forbidden Broadway Spoofs Musical Theater", The New York Times, March 12, 1982, p. 1
  4. ^ a b Brantley, Ben. "Knee-Jerk Revivals and Other Punch Lines", The New York Times, May 6, 2014
  5. ^ a b "Forbidden Broadway", Emelin Theatre, accessed August 30, 2015
  6. ^ a b Gans, Andrew. "'Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab 'Extends to March 2009", Playbill, December 9, 2008
  7. ^ a b Gilbert, Jenny. "Forbidden Broadway, Menier Chocolate Factory, London". The Independent, July 5, 2009, accessed November 9, 2010
  8. ^ a b c Forbidden Broadway, accessed August 30, 2015
  9. ^ Forbidden Broadway 1993, accessed August 30, 2015
  10. ^ Christine Pedi at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
  11. ^ "Forbidden BroadwayCleans Up Its Act 1998", accessed August 30, 2015
  12. ^ Forbidden Broadway 1988/1989 Archived 2012-09-30 at the Wayback Machine, accessed August 30, 2015
  13. ^ Rosati, Nancy."An Interview with Barbara Walsh", November 20, 2002
  14. ^ Gans, Andrew. "The Tony Awards Administration Committee announced the recipients of the 2006 Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre Sept. 22" Playbill, October 24, 2006
  15. ^ Forbidden Broadway 2001: A Spoof Odyssey, Internet Off-Broadway Database, accessed August 29, 2015
  16. ^ Forbidden Broadway: Special Victims Unit, 2004, Internet Off-Broadway Database, accessed August 29, 2015
  17. ^ Forbidden Broadway: Rude Awakening, Internet Off-Broadway Database, accessed August 29, 2015
  18. ^ "Drama Desk Awards, see 1985", Drama Desk, accessed August 29, 2015
  19. ^ Gans, Andrew. "'Ruined' and 'Billy Elliot' Win Top Honors at Drama Desk Awards", Playbill, 2009
  20. ^ Boslaugh, Sarah. "Book Reviews. Forbidden Broadway: Behind the Mylar Curtain",, November 12, 2009
  21. ^ "Adelaide Art Orchestra". Archived from the original on 2014-07-18. Retrieved 2014-10-10.
  22. ^ "Caricaturist Captures the Corporate Market" Archived 2009-06-27 at the Wayback Machine, Biz Bash Orlando, August 11, 2008.
  23. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Cast Recording of Off-Broadway's Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking Arrives Nov. 27", Playbill, November 27, 2012, accessed October 9, 2014
  24. ^ Wilhelm, Alex. "Forbidden Broadway is Alive and Still Kicking Beginning Feb 22 Off Broadwat". Playbill. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  25. ^ Shenton, Mark. "Forbidden Broadway Extends Run at London's Menier Chocolate Factory", Playbill, July 23, 2014
  26. ^ Cavendish, Dominic. "Forbidden Broadway, Vaudeville Theatre, review: 'witty musical parodies'", The Telegraph, October 8, 2014
  27. ^ Hetrick, Adam (February 27, 2019). "Forbidden Broadway Salutes Carol Channing to Play Feinstein's/54 Below". Playbill. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  28. ^ "Return Engagement of Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation Extends Run at York Theatre Company". Playbill. Retrieved 2020-01-21.
  29. ^ "Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation Sets Closing Date Off-Broadway" November 15, 2019
  30. ^ "Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation! Brand New Edition at the York Theatre Company 619 Lexington Avenue - Ben Brantley of The New York Times calls it "A Godsend"!". Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  31. ^ Twitter."Don’t miss these up to the minute Broadway spoofs!" December 26, 2019
  32. ^ a b Gans, Andrew."Return Engagement of Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation Extends Run at York Theatre Company" January 14, 2020
  33. ^ Meyer, Dan.Name Change: Forbidden Broadway Sets Closing Date Off Broadway", November 15, 2019
  34. ^ "Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging! Closes Off-Broadway". Playbill. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  35. ^ "Forbidden Broadway: West End". London Box Office. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  36. ^ "Forbidden Broadway Will Return to New York This Fall". Playbill. Retrieved 7 October 2019.

External links[edit]