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'Forbidden Broadway' extends Broadway spoofing Off-Broadway

By Alysha Heers

"Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking", a play that spoofs Broadway plays and actors will continue their run until April 28, 2013. Previews for the production began on July 24, 2012 at the Off-Broadway 47th Street Theatre. The opening night was on September 6. The show was scheduled to run until January 6, 2013.

The production has been extended, because the 194-seat theater has broken box office records with a sold-out house almost every show. The play has also received excellent reviews. Joe Dziemianowicz of the NY Daily News described the show as "[r]iotous, biting and brilliant! For theatre lovers, it's like Halloween and Christmas both came early!"

"Forbidden Broadway" began spoofing Broadway plays at a small Upper West Side nightspot in 1982. The show's popularity grew with every year over the next three decades. New editions of the show were performed in Los Angeles, Boston, and London. This new edition of "Forbidden Broadway" is the 21st edition on its thirtieth anniversary.

The show went on hiatus three years ago in 2009, after 27 years and approximately 9,700 performances. The production's writer and creator, Gerard Alessandrini, decided there weren't enough new shows on Broadway for a new edition every year to support a quality production. He said, "It was just a revival of 'Guys and Dolls,' 'The Addams Family,' what else?," according to NYTimes.com. Alessandrini has been watching the Broadway shows over the last three years and "Forbidden Broadway" is back — for longer than expected.

Alessandrini is co-directing the production along with Phillip George. The show will feature around 26 numbers, which was brought down from 40. If a particular parody doesn't work out or loses favor, Alessandrini has many more ideas to use as replacement. New inspiration comes with each Broadway debut.

Alessandrini said, "Over the past three years, I sat through show after show, with no outlet at all. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. Now I have three years' worth of pent-up parodies, and am blessed with a season that has practically written itself. We were able to get our favorite Forbidden Broadway theatre again, but only for a limited chunk of time. But that should (be) more than long enough to say everything we have to say, and then come back to New York again, from time to time," as noted on Playbill.com.

The new edition spoofs shows including "Annie," ''Newsies," ''Once," ''The Book of Mormon," ''Evita," ''Porgy and Bess," ''Anything Goes," and ''Follies." Actors that take a hit include Matthew Broderick, Patti LuPone, Catherine Zeta Jones, Bernadette Peters, and Mandy Patinkin among many others.

The show consists of a four-person cast. Natalie Charle Ellis, Scott Richard Foster, Jenny Lee Stern and Marcus Stevens star.

John Freedson is the producer of the long-running musical revue "Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking." Freedson was actually a cast member in a1985 edition of the show in Boston. He told the WashingtonPost.com, "There's just this outpouring of love between the audiences and us right now. We're enjoying being back and basking in the glow."

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