Various Artists

Forbidden Broadway, Vol. 3

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Though the second volume of Forbidden Broadway was recorded and released in 1991, writer/director Gerard Alessandrini apparently hadn't quite had his say on the Broadway shows of the late 1980s, since he mixes into the third volume his parodies of Grand Hotel ("Grim Hotel") and a production of The Merchant of Venice starring Dustin Hoffman as Shylock, both of which date from 1989. And of course, as usual, he harks back to even earlier periods of Broadway history, rewriting "Ya Got Trouble" from The Music Man to comment on the current state of the theater and taking off on Julie Andrews, Barbra Streisand, Ethel Merman, and Mary Martin. Carol Channing, meanwhile, good naturedly plays herself, tossing in her own impersonations of Marlene Dietrich, Carmen Miranda, and Tallulah Bankhead. But as usual, the core of Forbidden Broadway consists of satires of recently opened Broadway musicals: Miss Saigon, with its notorious casting problems and awful lyrics; a revival of Guys and Dolls in which Nathan Lane and Faith Prince spend all their time chewing scenery; a short-lived musical version of Anna Karenina (Anna throws herself under the train after singing a Russianized version of "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe"); The Who's Tommy, with its flashy staging ("See Me" becomes "Scenery"); the soap opera-ish Blood Brothers ("Mug Brothers") with its celebrity casting of Petula Clark, David Cassidy (whose Partridge Family hit "I Think I Love You" becomes "I Think I'm Acting"), and Shaun Cassidy; and Kiss of the Spider Woman, with its ancient leading lady ("Mess of the Spider Woman") and gay plot ("Queer One"). Despite a cast of 16, the impressions are not always impressive (John Freedson's Dustin Hoffman especially needs more work), and some bits are funnier than others. There's a lot here that is of its time and a lot that will make sense (and be amusing) only to Broadway aficionados, and even some of them may find a few of the jokes too cruel. Also, Alessandrini sometimes seems hypocritical; he usually suggests that old Broadway is better than new Broadway, but then complains about successful revivals like Guys and Dolls. Of course, consistency is not the most important quality of a satirist; what you look for are laughs, and there are many here to be found.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Forbidden Broadway
1 5:31
2 2:49
3 3:10
4 3:43
5 3:07
6 2:24
7 1:35
9 2:21
10 2:41
11 4:22
12 3:12
13 3:30
14 3:04
15 6:14
16 2:29
18 3:37
19 3:24
blue highlight denotes track pick