When "Forbidden Broadway" comes to Port Washington's Landmark on Main Street theater Saturday night, it won't "Come Out Swinging" -- at least not in terms of re-creating its most recent Manhattan incarnation. For one thing, "Rocky," the musical, got knocked out last year. For another, "Forbidden Broadway" goes into satirical greatest-hits mode on tour.
Co-directors Gerard Alessandrini, who launched the "Forbidden" franchise in 1982 as an irreverent supper-club revue, and Phillip George, who joined the company in 2004, rely on widely familiar titles for out-of-town shows -- even some, like Disney's "Frozen," that are "in-development" stage musicals, or others, like Tony-winning "Once," which, though no longer on Broadway, still rates high on its national tour. (Soon Long Island-bound, no doubt.)
Among current prime targets are "The Book of Mormon" -- Mormons aren't pleased to be replaced by "Morons" in the "Forbidden Broadway" sketch -- and "Matilda the Musical," along with such antiquities as "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Les Miserables," plus legendary stars Liza Minnelli, Mandy Patinkin and Long Island's Patti LuPone.
"We've been roasting 'Les Miz' forever," says touring cast veteran Kevin McGlynn, part of Saturday night's cast. "When we sing 'One Run More,' we're poking fun at ourselves, too."
We also spoke to Marcus Stevens, from the cast of "Come Out Swinging," about what else to expect in this version of "Forbidden Broadway."
What are your favorite characters or skits in the show? How many do each of you do?
McGlynn Everybody -- two boys, two girls in our cast -- plays 13 to 17 roles. My favorite is Robert Goulet because he was such an iconic figure to me. I love singing "If Ever I Would Leave You" [from "Camelot"] and bringing him and those songs down a peg or two.
Stevens We're constantly running around changing costumes, barely taking a breath. I love doing Mandy Patinkin -- a send-up of him as an intense, frantic, driven performer. I also get a kick out of Rafiki in "The Lion King" -- Rafreaky in our interpretation. We like to take a few jabs at Disney -- a pretty big target -- with "Circle of Mice," you know, "Circle of Life."
So many quick changes? It sounds like "Noises Off."
McGlynn It's sometimes equally entertaining backstage as onstage.
How much improv goes into these sendups? You have lyrics going in and two directors who've done dozens of editions. Do you have leeway in creating the characterization?
McGlynn In the initial process, you get to improvise if you're lucky enough to have done the character before. And there's a little improv in rehearsal, particularly with four of us in a scene. But it's not like stand-up comedy where you're feeling your way through with the audience.
Stevens Gerard will come up with lyrics and we play around with that in rehearsal. You can make the number your own, doing your interpretation within the structure and pace of the show.
In preparing for a particular role to roast, how important is it to have actually seen the show or the actor you're doing? In some cases, the show has closed or the actor has moved on.
Stevens You certainly need to understand the feel and style of the show. The closer you get, the better. The Internet is an amazing tool in capturing the essence of a show or a character in it.
McGlynn Theater is what we do, so you can observe physicality or vocalization and use whatever's available to create the character. A lot of these shows have been around so long, we've seen them at some point.
Is there a moment you particularly recall when someone you're skewering was in the audience?
McGlynn: I've never had that experience yet.
Stevens: I actually played Stephen Sondheim and he was there! All those self-deprecating jokes about not being commercial. To see him laughing and smiling was a surreal experience.
WHEN | WHERE Saturday at 8 p.m., Landmark on Main Street's Jeanne Rimsky Theater, 232 Main St., Port Washington
INFO $40-$50; 515-767-6444, landmarkonmainstreet.org