'Utopia' makes for ideal 'Forbidden' fruit

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NEW YORK -- All those Tony wins for "The Coast of Utopia" definitely add oomph to "Forbidden Broadway: The Roast of Utopia," the special summer retrospective edition of the "Forbidden Broadway" franchise that debuts Wednesday and runs through Aug. 22 at the 47th Street Theatre. Not only will Tom Stoppard's nine-hour marathon be royally spoofed, but so will Sunday's other big Tony champ, "Spring Awakening," as well as "Mary Poppins" and other current shows, mixed in with encores of the most popular "Forbidden" parodies from the past 25 years. As always, Gerard Alessandrini is the writer-creator and also co-director with Phillip George; an all-new edition is being planned for the fall. (Under the terms of its rental agreement with the 47th Street Theatre, "Forbidden" has to vacate the theater for several weeks each spring so the theater's resident company, the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, can play its season.) ... About those Tony Awards: They might have been walloped in the ratings by Tony Soprano, but for those who were watching, the Broadway scene basically looked very inviting, with some good selling done on at least half of the musicals that opened this season, especially "Awakening," "A Chorus Line" and "Curtains"; less inviting were the sequences chosen to represent "110 in the Shade," "Company" and "Grey Gardens." In the highly competitive best actress in a musical category, Christine Ebersole triumphed as she should have; the same when Frank Langella received the prize in the super-tight best actor in a play category. Langella also gave the night's best acceptance speech, with Mary Louise Wilson of "Grey Gardens" and David Hyde Pierce of "Curtains" also as eloquent as we always want a Broadway veteran to be. Most charmingly enthusiastic speechmaker: Julie White, best actress for "The Little Dog Laughed." The most elegant ladies onstage: the classy Angela Lansbury and best featured actress winner Jennifer Ehle. ... There's a big memorial tribute to Kitty Carlisle Hart at noon today at the Majestic Theater. ... "The Pirate Queen" swashes its final buckle Sunday after 85 performances, plus prevues, at the Hilton. Sixteen days later, on July 3, an original cast recording of the Boublil-Schoenberg score will be released nationwide by the Masterworks Broadway label. ... Richard Thomas, who's been traveling the country in the Roundabout Theatre Company's tour production of "12 Angry Men," isn't ready to call it quits. He's agreed to tour in the Reginald Rose play for a second year, hitting 19 more cities in 28 weeks, including Cleveland, Toronto, Costa Mesa, Calif., Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C. Directed by Scott Ellis, Thomas will again play Juror No. 8, the role Robert Cummings played in the original 1954 Studio One TV version directed by Franklin Schaffner and by Henry Fonda in Sidney Lumet's 1957 film. ... Michael Feinstein finishes his current run at Feinstein's at Loews Regency on Saturday. On every night of his two-week salute to cabaret legend Bobby Short, Feinstein has had a different guest star join him onstage to do one number and share a Short memory or two. Elaine Stritch was the first on June 5; the marvelous singer-pianist Charlie Cochran takes the final guest spot Saturday.
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