The Mad Show at the York should be crazy good

Photograph by Ben Strothmann

City Center's Encores! isn't the only series that spotlights forgotten musicals. Since 1994 (the same year Encores! debuted), the York Theatre Company has been presenting staged concerts of long-lost gems (and the occasional show that should never have been unearthed) as part of Musicals in Mufti. As Adam Feldman pointed out a few seasons ago, the York doesn't usually attract performers as famous as its across-town competition, but The Mad Show, which runs for five performances this weekend, is an exception.

The cast of this 1966 comic musical revue based on Mad magazine (really!), includes Stephanie D'Abruzzo, above, who was nominated for a Tony for Avenue Q, and hilarious chanteuse Christine Pedi of Forbidden Broadway and Newsical fame; it's directed by Carl Andress, who helmed Charles Busch's last few comedies, including the riotous Divine Sister.

The material also promises to be a (somewhat dated) hoot. A combination of sketches, songs and spoofs, the show has a book by longtime Mad magazine scribes Larry Siegel and Stan Hart, who won Emmys for their writing on The Carol Burnett Show, and lyrics by Marshall Barer, who wrote Once Upon a Mattress with Richard Rodgers's daughter Mary (who herself composed the songs for The Mad Show). And here's some fun trivia: Stephen Sondheim contributed the lyrics to "The Boy From...," a parody of "The Girl From Ipanema," under the pseudonym Esteban Rio Nido.

The Mad Show runs tonight through Sunday, and the theater will be handing out free copies of Mad's current issue to all audience members at every performance. If you're a theater lover, you'd be insane not to check it out.