I decided on the latest edition of Gerard Alessandrini’s perennial review of “fractured Broadway fables” FORBIDDEN BROADWAY - the Special Summer Edition titled “The Roast of Utopia”. Like the Energizer Bunny, FB just keeps going on and on. As it was playing at the tiny 47th Street Theatre, apparently its new permanent home, this would nicely break up my schlep from 53rd St. and Ave of Americas (the New York Hilton – location of the Forum) to 40th St and 8th Ave (the Port Authority Bus Terminal).
I have seen many of the various editions of FORBIDDEN BROADWAY at various locations over its 25-year history. It is given fresh life each new Broadway season, as new musicals, revivals and trends appear. The last incarnation I saw, also at the 47th Street Theatre, was its SVU (Special Victims Unit) edition (in honor of the various LAW AND ORDERs Broadway connection - Jerry Orbach and B D Wong).
This FB included some familiar numbers from ongoing musicals such as CHICAGO (“Give me the old saucy Fosse”), THE LION LING, WICKED, SPAMALOT, AVENUE Q, and THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (“Why we’re still here there’s no explanation”), including a duet with the Phantom and Ethel Merman (each edition has to have a visit from either Ethel or Carol Channing) on wireless mikes vs belting from the diaphragm (“Get that mike out of your ass”), as well as dead on jabs at new shows COMPANY, MARY POPPINS, GREY GARDENS, THE LOWSY – I mean DROWSY - CHAPERONE, CURTAINS, JERSEY BOYS and RUDE - I mean SPRING – AWAKENING by a cast of 4 “practically perfect” FB veterans. An apparent upcoming revival of LES MISERABLES provided a return of the Act 1 ending Les Miz medley.
As with any review of this nature, every lyric is not always inspired genius. Often, as is also the case with the politically incorrect CAPITAL STEPS shows, the joke is in the title of the number, with the rest of the parody basically just filler. But there were certainly enough laugh out loud moments in this edition to make it well worth the price of a ticket (especially at tdf prices). Two thumbs way up!
I considered dining at “Rosie O’Grady’s” on 53rd Street, but it appeared crowded and a bit pricey, and the Shepherd’s Pie was misnamed – it contained beef and veal and not sheep! I ended up at “The Olive Garden” on 47th Street. As I booked through tdf the dinner cost twice as much as the ticket (it could have been worse)!