on September 18, 1999
This CD is incredible. By far, it is one of my favorites. One thing I recomend before buying it is make sure you know at least half of the stuff they make fun of or the cd will be no fun. Especially the one for Mandy Patinkin and Titanic. Some of my favorite shows they make fun of are Cabaret, The lion king, Titanic (they also include stuff from the movie in this song), Mandy Patinkin (hilarious if you have heard him before) and Les Miserables. My favortie singer on the soundtrack is Lori Hammel. The only thing that wasn't very good was her impression of Bernadette Peters. No one can immitate her. Other than that this CD is wonderfull.
There are some great pieces in this 1998 album, especially the full-bore treatment of RAGTIME and a clever send-up of Ann Miller's career called "I'm Still Weird," based on the Sondheim song "I'm Still Here," which Miller actually had sung in a 1998 FOLLIES revival in Northern New Jersey. But there are several misfires too. Perhaps excessive topicality is the culprit, since a mere mention of Mandy Pantinkin's MAMALOSHEN album triggers a fusillade of Jewish-American references, which is funny only to those who remember that his album consisted mainly of Yiddish folk songs interpolated by a few American hits like "Supercalifragilisticexpilalidocious," triggering "Super-Frantic Hyper-Active Self-Indulgent Mandy." Since Patinkin was already a regular -- some might say inevitable -- target of Forbidden Broadway jabs, this one doesn't go over all that well.
In retrospect, singling out Broadway musicals like "Jekyll and Hyde" that were about to close may have been hysterically funny at the time, but didn't have legs. This CD also runs more than fifteen minutes shorter than the previous one. A minor gripe to this reviewer is that this cover is the first since the first Forbidden Broadway CD not to make use of the talent of caricaturist Ken Fillon, whose drawings in a slightly overwrought Hirschfeld style are a parody in their own right. On the plus side, complete lyrics are included. I couldn't possibly slam this Forbidden Broadway album, but there are better ones.
I have not heard the first four albums and I have seen Forbidden Broadway only once. Back then and again in hearing this album, I was impressed with the intelligence of most of the satire. Perhaps one might think "bad taste" when a star is satirized for being too old. But one does not have to read John Simon to agree that too much of what is stressed on modern Broadway stages has nothing to do with good music or decent lyrics. We get bread and circuses, or as this FB says we get glitter where there used to be substance. I only wish I could see what these singers are supposed to be be doing (a few more illustrations would help). But the satire is dead on target and it almost never reaches the inspidity thatMonty Python did at their most uninspired. Of course all the Forbidden Broadways in the world will not cure what is wrong with the American musical today; but heaven help us if they stop trying!
on August 17, 2002
"Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome. Fremde, etranger. I will attack you and make you feel sick, wicked and raunchy when I grab my-"
"Stop right there! That lyric is polluted and that gesture is obscene. I order you to stop immediately!"
"Just a minute, please! Who are you!?"
"I am mayor Rudolph Giuliani! And you're in violation of New York City's new zoning laws for adult entertainment. No parody lyrics within fifty feet of any church or school....From now on I don't want to see anything on this stage dirtier than....than.... Mary Poppins!"
When the time for FB5 came around, Gerard Alessandrini had established himself as a terrific parody writer, and the show itself had become near and dear to theatre-lovers' hearts. Alessandrini's level of comfort with pushing Broadway's buttons shows, and contributes to perhaps the funniest volume in the seven-volume collection.
The show couldn't have come at a better time. As Alessandrini writes in the booklet, while Mayor Giuliani was cleaning up Broadway's seedier aspects outside, inside Broadway was becoming more and more raunchier with shows like Cabaret and Chicago. Not only that, but it also came in the wake of the 1998 Tonys with the fierce competition between Lion King and Ragtime. All four aformentioned shows, by the way, have hillarious parodies, knocking everything from Natasha Richardson, Ann Reinking, Julie Taymor, and Brian Stokes Mitchell.
Special attention is payed to the sure-fire flops; has anyone heard of Swan Lake besides Bryan Batt and Edward Staudenmayer ripping apart the allegro moderato and waltz? Cult-classics like Jekyll and Hyde fall prey, as does The Beauty Queen of Leenane, which makes for an amazing parody of a play.
Ah yes, the actors. I don't think I've laughed harder than I did during Super-Frantic-Hyper-Active-Self-Indulgent-Mandy, and Ann Miller's "I'm Still Weird" couldn't have been more perfectly performed. Let's not forget the long-runners, either. Andrew Lloyd Superstar gets his due, and Les Miserables gets it once again (would it be a Forbidden Broadway without giving the now-longest-running show on Broadway a swift kick in the derriere?).
Another highlight has got to be the Sound of Music in Cabaret segment, and looking at the picture from it in the booklet makes me laugh even harder.
A great introduction to Forbidden Broadway, and a must for any theatre afficionado, Cleans Up its Act is guaranteed to please, even if it's not as clean as Mary Poppins.
on March 24, 1999
If you're a Forbidden Broadway fan and/or you keep up to date on the latest Broadway shows and going-ons, this is a must-have CD. Creator Gerard Allesandrini is up to his usual parody-mayhem in this fifth recording of Forbidden Broadway material, featuring four multi-talented cast members from the Off-Broadway show.
This latest version includes drawn-out parodies of "The Lion King," "Ragtime," "Titanic," and "Cabaret"; and as usual they are side-splittingly funny. I can distinctly recall laughing out loud quite often while listening, and not just on my first listen.
Unlike previous CDs, the CD sleeve of "Forbidden Broadway Cleans Up Its Act!"--the title of this 5th volume--includes the libretto, allowing you to comprehend every word of Allesandrini's brilliant parodies (once you get past all the typos).
Wonderful performances and hysterical parodies make this CD a necessity for all fans.
on May 17, 1999
As funny as Volume Five is, particularly the Ragtime routine, Alessandrini really outdid himself with his Beauty Queen of Leenane parody. ("How are things in Irish drama?") This was so dead-on, so on the money, and yet sounds so good, I can't stop playing it. The man is a gem.
on April 12, 1999
Clever lyrics, great singing, crisp piano playing--what more do you want? This album lovingly skewers the best of Broadway and does it with style. Fans of Lion King and Ragtime will be particularly tickled. You don't even have to be familiar with all of the current musicals and plays to enjoy this album, because it stands as a musical work on its own. I highly recommend this extremely well-crafted album to lovers of Broadway and good satire.