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A 'Forbidden' Move: Broadway to L.A.

March 13, 1994|DON SHIRLEY

Try to imagine those dueling Norma Desmonds, Patti LuPone and Glenn Close, on the same stage together.

That's what the creators of "Forbidden Broadway 1994" imagined. Stand-ins for LuPone and Close will be on display in a "Sunset Boulevard" sketch, one of 25 in the L.A. edition of the famous satirical revue, opening April 17 at the Tiffany Theatre on (where else?) Sunset Boulevard.

The New York edition of the show, which ran almost continuously from 1982 until January, added a "Sunset Boulevard" parody last fall, depicting the struggle between LuPone and producer/composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. Close was not a character in that one. So a new sketch was written for L.A., where Close has been starring in "Sunset" since December.

Not all of the five "Forbidden" cast members, who are coming straight from the New York production, have actually seen "Sunset Boulevard," but "I'm sure we'll be able to get good seats," said co-producer John Freedson. "We have the same press agent" as "Sunset Boulevard" itself.

The L.A. run also has a local executive producer, Barry Brown, moonlighting from his day job as producer of Long Beach Civic Light Opera. Brown co-produced several of the hits "Forbidden Broadway" has parodied, such as "La Cage aux Folles" and the recent revivals of "Gypsy."

The "Sunset" gags will be the only brand-new material in the L.A. edition. But most of the other sketches will be new to L.A. The revue had a successful run at the Comedy Store in 1983, but hasn't returned except for a one-night stand in Malibu three years ago, Freedson said.

Meanwhile, a different edition of "Forbidden Broadway" will make a few Southland stops, appearing at Santa Barbara's Lobero Theatre on Friday, the Norris Theatre in Rolling Hills Estates on March 24-25, Citrus College's Haugh Performing Arts Center in Glendora on March 26 and Pepperdine's Smothers Theatre in Malibu on March 27.

The touring version features older material than the one that will play the Tiffany and "is geared to an audience that isn't that theater-savvy," Freedson said. Nine sketches are in both versions.

Freedson arrived in L.A. last week to hear the news of the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of 2 Live Crew's right to parody "Oh, Pretty Woman." As parody is the whole point of "Forbidden Broadway," he was happy at the prospect of greater freedom from those who are parodied.

Some of the show's targets laugh along with the joke--Freedson said that Stephen Sondheim has urged the show's creators to "make it mean," and the oft-parodied Carol Channing will host an AIDS benefit preview of "Forbidden" on April 12. But others have complained--the creators of "The Will Rogers Follies" vigorously protested the company's parody of that show's "Will-a-Mania" song. In the "Forbidden Broadway" version, it was initially called "Swill-a-Mania."

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