Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
April 18, 1995 | Daryl H. Miller Daily News Staff Writer


Bogey’s in his nightclub, waxing nostalgic as Dooley Wilson plays “As Time Goes By.”

It resembles the classic scene from “Casablanca,” except the lyrics are: “You mustn’t underrate/Why classic films are great/And newer movies die./Most films today make good shut-eye/As time drags by.”

Welcome to “Forbidden Hollywood,” a delicious – if uneven – lampoon of the movies by Gerard Alessandrini, the poison pen behind the perennially popular “Forbidden Broadway” parody of the stage.

No one and nothing is sacred in Alessandrini’s new show at the Coronet Theatre in West Hollywood:

Not Disney, which gets skewered as Aladdin and Princess Jasmine borrow the melody of “A Whole New World” to sing “A Disney World/We conquered every hemisphere/And soon we’ll rule the Earth/With jolly mirth/Shove Mickey Mouse down your throat.” And not Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen, portrayed as squabbling siblings in a takeoff of the triplet scene from “The Band Wagon,” singing, “We look alike/We work alike/We cast alike/We spend alike/And so, of course, we formed a movie studio/To make more dough.”

Alessandrini draws blood about three-quarters of the time. As for the rest, well . . . at least the numbers conclude quickly, and Alessandrini moves on, slashing away at his next target.

The 33 sketches fly by, most lasting just a verse or two.

Alessandrini roams freely through movie history, from “Gone With the Wind” through “An Affair to Remember” and on to “Forrest Gump” and “Pulp Fiction.” As in “Forbidden Broadway,” he writes new lyrics to a hit song from the show itself or picks an appropriately adaptable tune.

Perhaps not surprisingly, he’s stuck in a bit of a rut, since many of his funniest sketches deal with stage musicals adapted to screen (the hallucinogenic coloring effects in “South Pacific”), or stage stars turned film superstars (the too-perky-to-be-real Julie Andrews).

No matter, though. It’s great fun as brought to life through deft impersonations of everyone from one-hit wonder Liza Minnelli (vamping through the famous chair dance from “Cabaret”) to hyper Jim Carrey (singing “Rubber Face” to the tune of “Baby Face”).

Pianist Brad Ellis and dead-on mimics Susanne Blakeslee and Christine Pedi return from last year’s edition of “Forbidden Broadway,” joined by the formidably talented Jason Graae and Gerry McIntyre.

The show begins, of course, with a nod to runaway Academy Award winner “Forrest Gump.” Tom Hanks (Graae) sits on a bus bench, clutching a box of chocolates, when a feather falls from the sky. Then another, and then a whole dead pigeon, which knocks Gump out cold and launches this nightmarish journey through movie history.

To the tune of “My Man,” Barbra Streisand (Blakeslee) sings about Hollywood’s seeming prejudice against women directors, declaring: “Ronnie Howard has his pick/Of any flick./Though I’m twice as good/They’d never use `a chick.’ ”

And Bette Midler (Pedi) – beloved by gay men everywhere – wiggles on stage to lambaste the Hollywood homophobia that drives gay movie stars undercover. To the tune of “Hooray for Hollywood,” she sings, “Who’s gay in Hollywood?/Who’s homosexual in Hollywood?/Who’s undetectable while acting hetro/and who at Metro/Has locked their closet door tight?”

Other sketches are just all-out, catty good fun.

In one particularly memorable scene, Sharon Stone (Pedi) saunters on in tight-fitting “The Quick and the Dead” cowgirl gear to sing (to the tune of “Rawhide”): “Sharon, Sharon, Sharon/Men are always starin’/’Cause I’m always barin’/My hide.”

The biggest bombs are a visualization of “The Sound of Music, Part II,” with Andrews still thwarting Nazis while running a ski lodge in Vermont, and a “Saturday Night Live”-ish sketch about “The Piano,” in which Holly Hunter refuses to talk until movers drop her beloved piano on vital appendages. THE FACTS

The play: “Forbidden Hollywood”

Running time: Two hours, 15 minutes; one intermission.

Where: Coronet Theatre, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood.

When: 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 5 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 3 and 7 p.m. Sundays; through May 28.

Tickets: $29.50 to $34.50, available at the Coronet box office or by calling (310) 657-7377.

Our rating; Three Stars.

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