February 13, 2006
Q: What shows were you parodying back when Forbidden
A: In the first Forbidden, we parodied Evita, The Pirates of Penzance, Dreamgirls..The funny thing about it all is that if you stay around long enough, all the shows come back, so you can parody them again (laughs).
Q: Apart from having different shows to satirize, what keeps the show fresh and exciting to do?
A: It's the casts, really-whenever we add new players, I'm able to change up what we do so I can capitalize on individual performers' skills. Also, I've noticed that when you do the same essential format, you become aware of how people's appreciation of comedy changes. Over the years, you'll find audiences responding to different types of humor.
Q: Does the world of theater lend itself particularly well to parody?
A: I think so. The stage is very fun to spoof because it's such serious work, you know? Everything we parody is so large in scale, so dramatic, so expensive to produce. So, it's very much this sacred cow. And spoofing the theater onstage, in a theater, is very direct and truthful-it's different than if you were doing a skit about a play on "Saturday Night Live."
Q: It's a lot harder to do parody effectively than people realize, isn't it?
A: Especially some of the things we tackle in Forbidden Broadway. Because, you know, if you're going to spoof Stephen Sondheim, you've got to do it like Sondheim! It may have a silly intent and result, but it's very complex and complicated to do.
Q: Through the years, a lot of Forbidden's targets have seen the show. What kind of reaction have you gotten from some of the "names" in the community?
A: We have lots of fans in the community. Bernadette [Peters] has come in recent years, though I don't think she's seen the newest show. Some creative folks like [Wicked composer/lyricist] Stephen Schwartz have come, and even made suggestions on how we can improve the numbers. Sondheim comes about once a year and does that.
Q: So you get notes from Stephen Sondheim?
A: Oh yeah. And do we use them? (laughs) He's Stephen Sondheim! What do you think?
Q: What about the flipside? Have you heard from people who were not at all amused by stuff in the show?
A: I have not really gotten any strongly negative responses firsthand. I've heard rumors that Christina Applegate was not very happy with our stuff about Sweet Charity. I think if anybody takes it the wrong way, it's generally going to be folks from Hollywood. The longtime theater actors don't mind so much.you know, compared to the New York theater critics, we're really nothing to get concerned about!
Q: How does it feel to have done Forbidden Broadway for all this time? Did you know from the start it would have this kind of longevity?
A: I remember thinking it was a great idea, and that it was something we could do forever if we wanted to. It still surprises me that we've come this far, but it has always seemed like a timeless concept.
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