Nora Mae Lyng, Actress at the Heart of ‘Forbidden Broadway,’ Dies at 66

“Forbidden Broadway” was “the most successful musical series in the history of Off Broadway,” Thomas S. Hischak wrote in “Off Broadway Musicals Since 1919: From Greenwich Village Follies to The Toxic Avenger” (2011).

A frisky spoof of Broadway musicals, the revue ran for six years and 2,332 performances at Palsson’s Supper Club on the Upper West Side of Manhattan before moving to Theater East on the Upper East Side in 1988.

“Forbidden Broadway,” which was given the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theater in 2006, has been updated and revived periodically in New York. In 2014 it was presented as “Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging,” a homage to the Broadway version of “Rocky.” Versions are still playing in other American cities and even abroad. (Mr. Alessandrini’s latest Broadway show, “Spamilton,” a sendup of “Hamilton,” opened in September.)


Nora Mae Lyng

In the original “Forbidden Broadway,” Ms. Lyng impersonated a vituperative Patti LuPone regretting the loss of her role in the movie version of “Evita”; a bellowing Ethel Merman (“Curtain up, light the lights, and you better turn off all the mikes”); and other stars, including Lauren Bacall, Linda Ronstadt and Jennifer Holliday.

She preferred to call her roles “caricatures” rather than parodies or impersonations.

Mr. Alessandrini and Ms. Lyng each invested several hundred dollars in the first version of “Forbidden Broadway,” far from enough to pay for a press agent or advertising.

But a loyal following emerged after rave newspaper reviews, growing word of mouth and forgiving or even congratulatory feedback from some of the Broadway celebrities who gamely sat through performances in which they were mocked.

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