Though Off-Broadway's Forbidden Broadway revue changes its parody songs constantly to stay current with theatre trends, every now and then creator/director Gerard Alessandrini gives the show a full once over, just to acknowledge how much new material has been added. That time comes again, Oct. 15, when the show opens its latest installment.
The updated version was supposed to open Oct. 4, but a spokesperson from the Pete Sanders office told Playbill On-Line (Oct. 2) the date was pushed forward to allow the troupe "to work on a couple more new sketches before the reviewers came in."
The revue, which makes fun of such new Broadway entries as Art, Cabaret, The Lion King and Swan Lake, will also change its subtitle. The current "Strikes Back!" specifically referred to Alessandrini's previous effort, Forbidden Hollywood, a satire on the movies. No new sub-head has yet been chosen, according to a spokesperson at the Pete Sanders press office (Aug. 6).
Beginning previews Sept. 7, this Forbidden Broadway features FB veteran Bryan Batt, alongside Lori Hammel, Edward Staudenmayer and Kristine Zbornik.
The show plays at the 187-seat Stardust Theatre downstairs in Ellen's Stardust Diner, next door to the Winter Garden Theatre at Broadway and 51st Street. FB has played at several locations on Manhattan's upper East Side and upper West Side since its humble beginnings 15 years ago. "We hated to leave the Triad, which, under another name [Steve McGraw's Supper Club], was our original home," said John Freedson in 1997. He co-produces FBSB with Harriet Yellen, and Jon Platt. "We left there briefly and then returned," Freedson said. "We loved it on the upper West Side, but for some time we wanted a larger space within striking distance, so to speak, of our targets. It's important to be close to or in the middle of all the gossip on the street. "The new location, within the theatre district, with its more spacious seating and slightly more upscale menu will, hopefully, give us a higher profile in the theatre district, which is much more frequented by theatre loving tourists than, say, West 72nd Street, where we were. One more attractive thing about the new location is that formerly where we were a destination we have the potential now for 'walk-in' business."
Freedson, who ten years ago was a cast member in the New York and Boston companies (he went on to direct the national and international tours), noted that FBSB has many return customers from among New York's theatre-lovers "but it's also popular with tourists, many of whom, haven't seen the shows being poked fun at. It doesn't seem to matter. What's great is that we can be enjoyed by almost anyone who just loves having a good time, courtesy of Gerard's fondess for musical theatre and his vicious wit."
For tickets ($45-$47.50) and information on Forbidden Broadway call (212) 239-6200.
-- By David Lefkowitz