Forbidden Broadway

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Forbidden Broadway
Forbidden Broadway set in Menier Chocolate Factory 2009.jpg
Set from Menier Chocolate Factory production in 2009
Music Various
Lyrics Gerard Alessandrini
Book Gerard Alessandrini
Basis Broadway parodies
Productions 1982 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 over 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. Michael Chapman directed and produced.[2] In April 1982, Chloe Webb joined the cast, and Jeff Martin succeeded Chapman as director. Alessandrini assumed the directing position subsequently, with Phillip George, Alessandrini's long-time collaborator, co-directing all of the editions of the revue since 2004.

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


The show is a cabaret revue sharply spoofing show tunes, characters and plots of contemporary and current Broadway musicals. Forbidden Broadway has mocked popular shows like The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Les Misérables, The Lion King, Spamalot, Annie, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and Rent, to name a few. It 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.

Forbidden Broadway is a four-person show, with two men, two women and piano accompaniment. Forbidden Broadway has released eleven 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, Brad Oscar, Christine Pedi, Bryan Batt, Michael McGrath, Chloe Webb, Barbara Walsh, Ann Morrison, William Selby and many more.

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

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[3] and Adelaide, Australia, where it played for the only time with an orchestra at the 2002 Adelaide Cabaret Festival.[4] 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."[5] 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.[6]

A 2012–2013 version of the show, Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking!, played in New York[7] and was revived in 2014.[8] Further productions include an extended London season in 2014.[9]

Editions of Forbidden Broadway[edit]



  1. ^ List of long runs in London and the world
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Forbidden Broadway at the Menier Chocolate Factory, 2009, accessed November 9, 2010
  4. ^ Adelaide Art Orchestra
  5. ^ Gilbert, Jenny. "Forbidden Broadway, Menier Chocolate Factory, London". The Independent, July 5, 2009, accessed November 9, 2010
  6. ^ "Caricaturist Captures the Corporate Market", Biz Bash Orlando, August 11, 2008.
  7. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Cast Recording of Off-Broadway's Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking Arrives Nov. 27", Playbill, November 27, 2012, accessed October 9, 2014
  8. ^ Wilhelm, Alex. "Forbidden Broadway is Alive and Still Kicking Beginning Feb 22 Off Broadwat". Playbill. Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  9. ^ Shenton, Mark. "Forbidden Broadway Extends Run at London's Menier Chocolate Factory", Playbill, July 23, 2014
  10. ^ "Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging! Closes Off-Broadway". Playbill. Retrieved 12 December 2014. 
  11. ^ "Forbidden Broadway: West End". London Box Office. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 

External links[edit]