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‘Forbidden Broadway 1990’ Opens

January 24, 1990

NEW YORK (AP) _ The cleverest Broadway lyrics aren’t on Broadway. They’re in ″Forbidden Broadway 1990,″ the new edition of the laugh-filled, long-running musical revue that spoofs current theater hits.

The show opened Tuesday night at off-Broadway’s Theater East.

Some Broadway shows lend themselves better than others to being spoofed. This season’s crop is a rich source for Gerald Alessandrini, who writes the parody lyrics.

Alessandrini, who also directed, has a light touch with lyrics. He doesn’t belabor or explain; in three lines, he introduces three ideas.

Of course, ″Forbidden Broadway 1990″ is funniest for people who’ve seen everything on Broadway and next funniest for people who’ve seen a lot. But it also can be enjoyed, surely, by somebody who has seen little that’s current.

The show being spoofed doesn’t have to be a musical. One of the cleverest scenes has Jeff Lyons looking like Dustin Hoffman, who’s currently on Broadway playing Shylock in ″The Merchant of Venice.″ He sings - to the tune of ″Mrs. Robinson″ from the film ″The Graduate″ - ″Here’s to you dear Antonio (the merchant), I invent the way to steal the play.″

He continues, to another Paul Simon tune, ″The Sounds of Silence,″ beginning, ″Hello, Shakespeare, my old friend″ and ending, ″They’ll love me if my acting’s good or bad. They’re just glad to hear my sounds of Shakespeare.″

″Fugue for Scalpers,″ to the tune of ″Fugue for Tinhorns″ from ″Guys and Dolls,″ has three of the four singers holding up tickets, proclaiming ″I got the show right here.″

Among the 21 musical numbers, there are a few other holdovers from previous ″Forbidden Broadways,″ including one to the tune of ″Poor Butterfly.″ ″It’s one swell lie. M. Butterfly.″

The most cutting lyric is to ″The Trolley Song.″ It’s basically a vicious pan of ″Meet Me in St. Louis.″ ″More Miserable,″ about ″Les Miz,″ isn’t too kind, either, and neither is a song to the tune of ″Monotony,″ which calls ″Jerome Robbins’ Broadway″ a $8 million rerun. ″One production number followed by another, from a show that’s older than your mother.″

″We Remember Our Lines,″ about Rex Harrison and Glynis Johns in ″The Circle″; ″Teeny Todd,″ about the ″Sweeny Todd″ revival with simpler staging, and takeoffs on ″Gypsy,″ ″Grand Hotel″ and ″City of Angels″ - though that one isn’t as funny as it should be - are gentler.

Marilyn Pasekoff, Jeff Lyons, Bob Rogerson and Suzanne Blakeslee all are fine. Costumes and wigs by Erika Dyson and Bobby Pearce zing certain performers.

Singers know how to stop for laughter so their next sally isn’t missed. The audience, sitting at small tables with bar service, is laughing all the way.

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