NEW YORK — While Matthew Broderick clearly can take a joke, it might be best if he skips the latest edition of the theater spoof ‘‘Forbidden Broadway.’’
The long-running musical revue that hilariously tweaks shows and stars has kicked it up a notch after a three-year absence, going after more than a dozen juicy targets including the ‘‘Nice Work If You Can Get It’’ star.
One of the first skits has an actor in a fat suit waddle onstage mimicking Broderick’s boyish grin, dance awkwardly and warble: ‘‘Nice song if I could sing it/And when I sing it you will cry.’’
Show creator and writer Gerard Alessandrini has heard some grousing that the mockery is too mean on the one-time Ferris Bueller, but thinks Broderick is ripe for ridicule this year for singing that’s ‘‘tepid, dull, and nasal.’’
‘‘I’m sure he’s a doll and a wonderful actor and he’s got a nice style, but I’m sure he must know he’s not Judy Garland or Barbra Streisand,’’ says Alessandrini. ‘‘Why shouldn’t he be more of a target? We’ve gotten everybody else.’’
True enough — Alessandrini and his four-person cast also spoof Harvey Fierstein, Mandy Patinkin, Audra McDonald, Ricky Martin, Sutton Foster, Megan Hilty, Diane Paulus and, of course, Julie Taymor and Bono from ‘‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.’’
Other highlights: Tony Award-winning ‘‘Once’’ gets skewered — ‘‘We’re so unpretentious that now we’re pretentious,’’ an actor playing Steve Kazee sings. A fake Stephen Sondheim complains about revivals of his work: ‘‘When they bring back my shows/it’s no wonder they close.’’ The cast of ‘‘Jersey Boys’’ sing ‘‘Walk like a man/sing like a girl.’’
Few escape a ribbing. Catherine Zeta-Jones is portrayed singing ‘‘Send in the Clowns’’ but with the lyrics ‘‘Is that my pitch?/Are you aware?/When I try singing a note/You’ll hear hot air.’’ And a cast member from ‘‘The Lion King’’ comes clean: ‘‘African baloney/but we won a lot of Tony.’’
The show took a break in 2009 when Alessandrini realized new big hit musicals weren’t making it to Broadway as quickly as in the past. He’s reloaded now on a new crop, including ‘‘The Book of Mormon’’ and ‘‘Newsies,’’ and has called this edition ‘‘Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking!’’
Many of Alessandrini’s favorite targets also have returned, including Disney’s sugary shows and Patti LuPone As a sign that he isn’t too vicious, LuPone and Sondheim are both fans and frequent visitors. And no one has sued — so far.
‘‘I’m sure there are some places where I’ve gone a little too far,’’ says Alessandrini. ‘‘Actually, once in a while it’s nice to almost cross the line, just to see a few jaws drop. But usually we’re kicking people when they’re up so that softens it.’’