Saturday, September 13, 2008

Permitted Broadway?

As has been widely reported (well, in the theatre press at least) Forbidden Broadway, Gerard Alessandrini's hilarious revue parodying the best and worst of Broadway, will be closing in January of 2009. (The New York times has  the best article on the subject.)

The series, which will close on the 27th anniversary of the opening of the first edition in 1982, has been an institution in New York since it opened. It has been running, on and off, since before Cats opened. Staggering.

I only have gotten to see it once, when a company opened a run in Cleveland. However, I listened to the CDs constantly, and would frequently remember the parody lyrics better than the originals--because they were better lyrics.

But I guess that the acclaim eventually gets old--long runs, multiple companies around the country, a whole bunch of awards, even a special Tony in 2006. Alessandrini has pointed to a lack of artistic excitement in the next few seasons--nothing to sink ones teeth into. I can see this, but I don't think that  the upcoming seasons are going to be any worse than the low years of the late eighties and the early nineties. Of course, it is 15 years later, so that might have some impact.

Either way, I'm going to be sure to see the company that's coming to Chicago next month, and say a prayer of thanks that we had the genius of this show for as long as we did. Hopefully in a few years he'll feel the itch to get back into the parody business--or someone else almost as brilliant will come to take his place!

1 comment:

Mr. K said...

I also have fond memories of Forbidden Broadway. I only saw it once when a touring company came through North Carolina. But I own three of the albums and heard songs from a lot of the other ones.

One of the neatest things about Forbidden Broadway is that it serves as a snapshot and history of Broadway with each CD/show. And unlike the official histories, which focus on the successes, it shows Broadway warts and all, from ill-conceived casting coups to badly received revivals to atrocious musicals and dramas. I don't think I would have ever been aware of "Titanic" (the musical) or "The Return of Martin Guerre" without FB. FB was like a Living Newspaper for theatre nerds.