So come with us on an omnibus
To a theatre-goers' soiree
To that Neverland where the hits get panned
-Volume 1 Opening Theme
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 pastiche
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 Forbidden Broadway
is typically performed by a cast of two men and two women, with piano accompaniment. The show went on hiatus in 2009, and returned to Broadway in the summer of 2012.
- 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, when Blood Brothers's Broadway run featured Petula Clark in the lead role, her 1960s hit "Downtown" became "Downshow".
- Affectionate Parody
- 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 Spamalot, owing to the tendency of actual post-millenial musical comedies to poke fun at musical conventions and styles — generally, "real" musicals didn't do that when this revue launched.
- 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.
- Fake Cross Over: Forbidden Broadway: Special Victims Unit opens with versions of Jerry Orbach and B. D. Wong on the case, as both were Broadway and Law & Order stars.
- 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 The Sound of Music both getting crossed with Cabaret as all three are set in 1930s Germany/Austria. Sometimes they just pair up things that were running in the same Broadway season, like Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Doubt.
- "I Want" Song: "Ambition" takes "Tradition" and turns it into an anthem for the struggling actor.
- Massive Multiplayer Ensemble Number: "One Day More" from Les Misérables is the definitive straight example of the trope. 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 Rent parody includes a song called "Ouch, They're Tight!"
- Rage Against the Author: "Into the Words" and "Forbidden Assassins", both aimed at Stephen Sondheim for writing music and lyrics too difficult for his actors to perform.
- Reading Ahead in the Script: The characters of the Rent parody read ahead in the script for La Bohème (the opera on which the plot of Rent is VERY loosely based) to see what they should do next.
- Sincerest Form of Flattery: The real Carol Channing appears on Volume 3 to get a little advice on her Carol Channing impersonation.
- 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?" (Finian's Rainbow's "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?"), the parody of 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.
- 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.