Emily Loesser, Marni Nixon Sing Original Songs by Forbidden Broadway Satirist, Sept. 4 & 10 in NYC

News   Emily Loesser, Marni Nixon Sing Original Songs by Forbidden Broadway Satirist, Sept. 4 & 10 in NYC
Gerard Alessandrini, best known as the nimble parody lyricist, creator and director of Forbidden Broadway, puts his original theatre songs in the limelight Sept. 4 and 10 in a benefit concert, Tonight We Sing.
Composer Gerard Alessandrini.
Composer Gerard Alessandrini. Photo by Starla Smith

The starry new show will support Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and feature Valerie Fagan, Heidi Holcomb Janshon, Ruben Flores, Aaron Lazar, Emily Loesser, Mark Martino and Marni Nixon.

Richard Danley is musical director. Alessandrini directs. Tonight We Sing is billed as having "music (mostly) and lyrics (completely) by Gerard Alessandrini." The show is made up of new material written for these performances and singers, and trunk songs from past Alessandrini shows. The piano-and-voice concert includes material from "six or seven projects" from the past.

The writer told Playbill On-Line that if Forbidden Broadway had not become an international enterprise to be maintained year-round, he would have been writing new works for the stage.

"[Forbidden Broadway] is my day job, and it keeps me from pursuing writing more legitimate original material," he said. "I keep writing, but I don't have the time to peddle it. I do a lot of writing, but then I put it away."

Alessandrini grew up in Needham, MA, and Boston, and saw plays and musicals in Boston before they appeared on Broadway. The tryout of Follies sticks in his mind. "It was fun during the '70s to go and see a lot of musicals 'out of town,'" he said. "It used to be three dollars to sit in the balcony at the Colonial. It was a great education."

Alessandrini graduated from the Boston Conservatory of Music.

"I've been trying to write musicals since, I think, third grade," he said. "I was doing a lot of writing in college. I did a musical for school — that sort of thing. I did have an eye toward that, primarily as a lyricist, but I did do music. At the time I started Forbidden Broadway in 1982 I was at [the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop] and in a writing workshop at The New School."

Since he sets funny lyrics to existing tunes in Forbidden Broadway, few know what Alessandrini's music sounds like. What style does he write in?

"It's basically old-fashioned musical theatre," he explained. "Somewhat pastiche, though I hope it takes the pastiche to a different level, that it has another layer to it. A lot of the themes in the lyrics are contemporary."

All tickets are $25. Performances are 8:15 PM Sept. 4 & 10 at Douglas Fairbanks Theatre (home to Forbidden Broadway), 432 W. 42nd Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues.

Net proceeds go to BC/EFA. For tickets, call Telecharge at (212) 239-6200 or visit the box office.


Alessandrini won the 2001 Drama Desk Award for Best Musical Revue for Forbidden Broadway. He has written all editions of the show since it began in 1982. He was also a member of the original cast and is heard on four Forbidden Broadway cast albums.

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