Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab
47th Street Theater, New York
“Can this really be the end of Forbidden Broadway?” said Ben Brantley in The New York Times. The performance series, a source of Broadway spoofs and send-ups for nearly 27 years, apparently will end its “reign of merry terror” at the beginning of next year. Ironically, Goes to Rehab “is the liveliest, sauciest, and saddest Forbidden Broadway in over a decade.” Written, as always, by Gerard Alessandrini, and performed by a talented five-member ensemble, the show vivisects all the Broadway hits of last year, from Lin Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights (labeling it West Side Story lite) to Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County. A Daniel Radcliffe character struts around Equus-style singing “Let me enter naked / Let me strut un-cut.” No show seems unworthy of Alessandrini’s mockery.
Goes to Rehab “proves why the show has become an institution”
and also why “it’s probably time for a break,” said Mark Blankenship in Variety. When Alessandrini’s on form, he can serve up “vicious parody.” Here he makes fun of the recently opened [title of show] for containing too many theatrical inside jokes—the pot calling the kettle black. Yet there are also times when the writer-director seems to be coasting, as when he dredges up tired gripes about older shows like The Little Mermaid and Jersey Boys. Still, the quality of this revue remains high, and that’s why, after a quarter-century, Forbidden Broadway remains relevant. Broadway will miss Alessandrini’s wit. “Here’s hoping someone else cares enough about theater to pick up his slack.”