Conceived and written by Gerard Alessandrini (who, at the time, was an out-of-work actor) and co-directed by Phillip George, Forbidden Broadway premiered in 1982 in New York, where it became a long-running – and continuously updated - Theatreland institution. It made its first transatlantic transfer to the Fortune Theatre in 1989, and again ten years later when its home was the Jermyn Street Theatre (and subsequently the Albery) - though on both occassions its stay was brief.
The London cast features Anna-Jane Casey, Sophie-Louise Dann, Alasdair Harvey and Steven Kynman, who under the direction of Phillip George take pot-shots at a host of West End and Broadway shows, including recent Chocolate Factory exports La Cage aux Folles and A Little Night Music. It continues until 13 September 2009.
Among the overnight and weekend critics, there was a divide between those who found the evening an “almost constant pleasure”, and those who labelled the ageing revue show “narcissistic” and “limp”. But the “sparky, larky” cast of four came in for praise from both sides, as did the costumes of legendary designer Alvin Colt (who passed away last year), which “ensure laughs before a note’s been sung”. So although not all were in on the joke, overall it seems that Forbidden Broadway has retained its formidable reputation as “a must for anyone who really loves theatre”.
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