âForbidden Broadwayâ was âthe most successful musical series in the history of Off Broadway,â Thomas S. Hischak wrote in âOff Broadway Musicals Since 1919: From Greenwich Village Follies to The Toxic Avengerâ (2011).
A frisky spoof of Broadway musicals, the revue ran for six years and 2,332 performances at Palssonâs Supper Club on the Upper West Side of Manhattan before moving to Theater East on the Upper East Side in 1988.
âForbidden Broadway,â 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 âForbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging,â a homage to the Broadway version of âRocky.â Versions are still playing in other American cities and even abroad. (Mr. Alessandriniâs latest Broadway show, âSpamilton,â a sendup of âHamilton,â opened in September.)
In the original âForbidden Broadway,â Ms. Lyng impersonated a vituperative Patti LuPone regretting the loss of her role in the movie version of âEvitaâ; a bellowing Ethel Merman (âCurtain up, light the lights, and you better turn off all the mikesâ); and other stars, including Lauren Bacall, Linda Ronstadt and Jennifer Holliday.
She preferred to call her roles âcaricaturesâ rather than parodies or impersonations.
Mr. Alessandrini and Ms. Lyng each invested several hundred dollars in the first version of âForbidden Broadway,â 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.