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Little Orphan Annie has fallen on hard times. Squeezed into her customary red dress, she belts out "Tomorrow" for the gazillionth time. Cigarette in hand, scowling and middle-aged, Annie still is waiting for that damn sun to come out.

As New York's longest running musical comedy revue, Forbidden Broadway pounces on the weaknesses and clichs of its Broadway brethren, serving up biting and hilarious parody.

Written by Gerard Alessandrini since its inception in 1982, the revue has become a Broadway mainstay and has garnered the Drama Desk, Obie and Outer Critics Circle awards. Because of the ever-revolving nature of Broadway, Alessandrini is forced to regularly update the show, keeping it aligned with theater's ebb and flow.

But we're not in New York City, and most Coloradans probably wouldn't get all of the insiderisms of a show built around theater gossip. Luckily, the touring version of Forbidden Broadway is more of a greatest hits compilation from the last 10 to 15 years of Broadway theater.

As producer John Freedson points out, audiences will be familiar with send-ups of Chicago, The Lion King and Wicked. Of course, Phantom of the Opera gets its due, and the three-and-a-half hour Les Misrables is condensed into a tidy eight minutes.

The idea, says Freedson, is to be as inclusive as possible, without losing any of the sting.

"The goal of Forbidden Broadway is to make outsiders feel like insiders. It makes you say, 'Well, I loved it, but I'm not sure if you would' -- except that everyone says that. Being able to make people feel in on the joke -- that's good parody."

-- Kara Luger

capsule

Forbidden Broadway

Sangre de Cristo Arts Center, 210 N. Santa Fe Ave., Pueblo

Friday, Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $20; call 719/295-7222.

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