Roger and I had the good fortune to see our family friend, Emma, in the Sanford School’s amazing production of Annie. Although I had heard most of the music at one time or another and had seen the photos of the cartoon Orphan Annie and Daddy Warbucks, I am sad to admit that I did not know the story. Imagine my surprise when a true Christmas dream-come-true musical unfolded on the Sanford stage!
The final song is “New Deal for Christmas,” both in reference to Roosevelt’s political plan (inspired by orphan Annie!?) and Annie’s adoption party at the 5th Avenue Warbucks mansion. The entire show is set around the time period Roosevelt’s first Christmas in office. Act I of the play features Hoover-ites gathered around fires in barrels and Warbucks (with Annie) advising a depressed Roosevelt on ways to improve the economy. By the end of the play, Annie, Warbucks, and Roosevelt are singing about their bright future. Historically, the president and Mrs. Roosevelt received a record 40,000 Christmas cards in 1933. (More on that in a future post!)
This most recent Annie revival (the 35th Anniversary) opened November 2012 and closed on January 5, 2014. It opened with Jane Lynch (Glee) as Miss Hannigan, and there were a total of 38 previews and 487 regular performances at the Palace Theatre. I learned that the Miss Hannigan role has been played by many famous actresses, including Nell Carter (20th Anniversary revival) and Carol Burnett (movie version in 1982). The original production of Annie in 1977 won many Tony awards and held the record for the longest running show at the Neil Simon Theatre (until Hairspray in 2009). I remember singing “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow” as a child, and now I am realizing that I must have been influenced by the first Annie storm in the late 70’s or the movie in the early 80’s.
The newest production of Annie will be the Christmas 2014 movie starring Beasts of the Southern Wild, Quvenzhané Wallis as Annie. Cameron Diaz will be Miss Hannigan.
I think Roger and I should add seeing this movie with Noah to our Christmas 2014 plan!