Haiku Main Theatre YMMV
So come with us on an omnibus
To a theatre-goers' soiree To that Neverland where the hits get panned Forbidden Broadway! -Volume 1 Opening Theme Forbidden Broadway
is a parody revue show written and directed by Gerard Alessandrini that ran off-Broadway from 1982 to 2009. The early incarnations of the show spoofed musicals from the Golden Age and iconic performers like Ethel Merman and Carol Channing, but the format was quickly adapted to
works in the current Broadway season. As the revue gained reputation, it became a
point of honor
in the theatre community to have one's work parodied by
is typically performed by a cast of two men and two women, with piano accompaniment. The show went on hiatus in 2009, but returned to turning out new editions off-Broadway in the summer of 2012.
Tropes: The Abridged Series: Predating even . The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) Actor Allusion: Many, especially musical references to the careers of pop singers appearing in musicals. For example: In "I Ham What I Ham", George Hearn fastens a bracelet around his arm and shouts, "At last, my arm is complete again!" (Hearn replaced Len Cariou in the title role in the original production of .) Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street When 's Broadway run featured David Cassidy and Petula Clark in leading roles, their 1960s hits "I Think I Love You" and "Downtown" became "I Think I'm Acting" and " Blood Brothers Downshow." The parody of the 1996 Broadway revival of had Donna Murphy playing Anna as her previous character of Fosca from The King and I (which closed too quickly to parody on its own). Passion The parody of the 2012 Broadway revival of had Ricky Martin singing (what else?) "Livin' Evita Loca." Evita Affectionate Parody Bad Bad Acting: David Mamet tries to teach Madonna how to act in , and doesn't make much headway: Speed The Plow "I strain in vain to train Madonna's brain." Better than a Bare Bulb: As always, but in particular the act of hanging a lampshade on the lampshading in "The Song That Goes Like This" from , owing to the tendency of post-millenial musical comedies to poke fun at musical conventions and styles — generally, "real" musicals didn't do that when this revue launched. Spamalot Brainless Beauty: John Davidson, as mocked for his State Fair performance in "Oh, What A Beautiful Moron." Charlie and the Chocolate Parody: The 2014 London edition specifically spoofs the 2013 stage musical adaptation of — which Charlie and the Chocolate Factory incorporates the most famous song from the 1971 film version, "Pure Imagination", into an otherwise new song score — with "No Imagination". Gags include West End musical stalwart Elaine Paige turning up as an Oompa-Loompa (see Height Angst below for more on this issue) and the show being accused not only of being unoriginal but a Follow the Leader to , another, more acclaimed musical adapted from a Roald Dahl novel (it isn't — well before Matilda Matilda opened, Charlie was in the works). City Shout Outs: In "Ambition" (a spoof of "Tradition"), there's a line that on the cast album that goes, "But here in our little village of Manhattan, there are over 50,000 actors, all trying their best not to end up in Baltimore." When on tour, "Baltimore" usually gets changed to the town they are perfroming in. Cover Version: Barbra Streisand and Mandy Patinkin's covers of showtunes are the subject of several parodies. Everybody Has Lots of Sex: The parody of , "I Sleep With Everyone." Aspects of Love Everything's Better with Monkeys: The flying monkeys from make a special appearance singing a parody of "Please Don't Monkey With Broadway." Wicked Fake Cross Over: opens with versions of Jerry Orbach and B. D. Wong on the case, as both were Broadway Forbidden Broadway: Special Victims Unit and stars. Law & Order Follow the Bouncing Ball: The sing-along of "Into the Words" has Stephen Sondheim telling the audience to "follow the bouncing razor." Height Angst: Elaine Paige as Norma Desmond: Zoe: I won't have a word said against her. But a three-foot Norma Desmond? I ask you... Elaine: I'm not small! It's the sets that got bigger! Incredibly Long Note: In their take on "Wheels of a Dream" from Ragtime:
We'll sing till the rafters ring
And emote till we overbloat And then this song, this song will end With a really long nooooooooooooooooooooooote! Intercontinuity Crossover: Sometimes they make a bit of sense, like Grand Hotel and both getting crossed with The Sound of Music as all three are set in 1930s Germany/Austria, or Cabaret and Matilda 's child actors lamenting that they're "Exploited Children". Sometimes they just pair up things that were running in the same Broadway season, like Billy Elliot and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? . Doubt Intercourse with You: "Shall We Boink?", with Donna Murphy and Lou Diamond Phillips trying to make The King and I Hotter and Sexier. "I Want" Song: "Ambition" takes " Tradition" and turns it into an anthem for the struggling actor. Limey Goes to Hollywood: Discussed in the Judi Dench number, "Why Can't Americans Do Theater Like The Brits?" Massive Multiplayer Ensemble Number: "One Day More" from is the definitive straight example of the trope. Les Misérables Forbidden Broadway takes it on with just four actors in "Ten Years More" to hilarious results. Medium Awareness Musical Pastiche Mythology Gag: Former Forbidden Broadway cast member Tom Plotkin gets specifically mentioned by name in their parody of . Footloose Painted-On Pants: The parody includes a song called "Ouch, They're Tight!" Rent Parody Names: Frequently applied to show titles ("Grand Hotel? Grand Hotel? No, this is the Grim Hotel"), but very rarely applied to characters ( "Rafreaky" being one exception), and never to actors. Race Lift: Equity president Colleen Dewhurst, who protested the casting of Jonathan Pryce in , was played by African-American actress Mary Denise Bentley. Miss Saigon
"In order to protest Cameron Mackintosh bringing Jonathan Pryce over from London to play this role, I have now become black."
Rage Against the Author: "Forbidden Assassins" has John Hinkley and Squeaky Fromme aiming their guns at Stephen Sondheim for writing music and lyrics too difficult for them to perform. Reading Ahead in the Script: The characters of the parody read ahead in the script for Rent to see what they should do next. It isn't that much help, since "This Ain't Bohème." La Bohème The Reveal: Andrew Lloyd Webber, the "Phantom of the Musical," is revealed to be Mickey Mouse when Sarah Brightman rips off his mask. Royalties Heir: Curly: Yoko Ono? What the Sam Hill are you doing on Broadway? Yoko: Collecting royalties. You see, every 1960s rock-and-roller had a wife, and every wife now holds the music rights. Sincerest Form of Flattery: The real Carol Channing appears on Volume 3 to get a little advice on her Carol Channing impersonation. Small Name, Big Ego: From "The Book of Morons":
"...and I believe that ancient Jews like Richard Rodgers didn't write very good musicals."
Spinoff: Forbidden Hollywood in The Nineties and Forbidden Vegas at the Turn of the Millennium. Strange Syntax Speaker: Mag in "How Are Things in Irish Drama?" ( 's "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?"), the parody of Finian's Rainbow Martin McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenan: Mag: It's an old crone I'm getting to be, Maureen, an old crone... Maureen: Stop reversing your syntax, you hateful cow! You'd try the patience of a saint! That's All, Folks!: Every version of the show has ended with one of these, some longer than others. Troperiffic Trouser Space: In the parody, Melchior unzips his fly and pulls out a microphone. Spring Awakening Truck Driver's Gear Change: Inverted in "I Couldn't Hit The Note" (pastiche of "I Could Have Danced All Night"). Spoofing how Julie Andrews couldn't hit high notes anymore, the song keeps modulating down. This became Harsher in Hindsight when Forbidden Broadway continued to perform the number after Andrews lost most of her range in a botched throat surgery. We Didn't Start the Billy Joel Parodies: Shockingly averted. The Movin' Out spoof used "My Life" instead. We Used to Be Friends: co-stars Wicked Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel are bestest friends until Idina wins the Tony Award for Best Actress.