This was the first Broadway play that had a real impact on my childhood. I remember the larger than life theater we saw it in, the larger than life sets on the stage, the orchestra with all those shiny brass and stringed instruments with the top of the conductor's head just barely visible, his baton waving furiously. The singing, the dancing and of course the little red headed orphan that every girl my age at the time wanted to be. I remember being in elementary school and me and my friends would spend our play time in the yard to act out the play, fighting over who got to be Annie, or Duffy, or Pepper, or Molly etc. Somehow all of us knew the play inside and out. We knew the lines, the lyrics and the dance moves. I had a record of the soundtrack at home. (Yes, I did say a "record.") I used to play that album (Yes, I did say album), over and over and over again. I knew/know every song by heart. Then...THEN...the movie came out!!!! OMG. I was beside myself. I was eleven years old and Annie was now on the big screen and I sang all the songs with the movie (I think every single kid did. It was probably like the Little Shop of Horrors, which I never did get to see...I know, shame, shame. But I did see the movie! Does that count? No, I know. Not the same thing, huh? *sigh*).
The movie Annie was/is amazing with an all star cast: Carol Burnette as Ms. Hannigan? Are you kidding me? No one does Ms. Hannigan better than her. She is absolutely BRILLIANT in this movie. Albert Finney as Daddy Warbucks, Anne Reinking as Grace Farrell (and man did she ever grace the screen with her beautiful dancing!), Tim Curry as Rooster--Amazing!!!, Burnadette Peters as Lily St. Regis ("named for the hotel"..."room service"), hello??? Burnadette friggin' Peters--total awesomeness. And then, you had songs that were made especially for the movie version so I got to learn MORE awesome songs. To this day, I can probably recite every line of every character in that movie. And now my girls are starting to get into enjoying some of the songs from it. Ahhh...a dream come true :-)
Tell me that doesn't pump you up or leave you with total goosebumps???
Annie is not just a play or a movie, it's an experience. Once you've been Annieanized, there's no turning back (Yes, I did just make up that word. Do you think I can get in the dictionary?). However, I think it's really important for it's fans (or even if you are not, it's just fascinating) to see the movie/documentary called Life After Tomorrow. It is a real eye opener behind the harsh realities of being a kid who was cast in that play. All I can say is that I'm glad as hell, I never actually got to be in that play (even though as a kid it was my ultimate dream). The first Annie in the play grew up in my building where I grew up and I met the second actress who played Annie when she came to a summer event in our building. But, now, when I look back, I can't believe what was going on with these kids and some of them to this day are probably still in therapy. Yes, it was pretty damn bad for some of them and I recommend you see this movie.
So, I'm definitely excited about this reprisal and when it comes back to the big stage it is something I must see. I'm a little ambivalent about the idea that they are reworking the script (as noted in the article below) to modernize it. It will be interesting I guess. I just hope they don't change too much. But what I do hope is that it will create a whole new love among a new generation of children to fall in love with Annie and with the theater experience as it did for me when I was a kid. It still has a huge place in my heart to this day. It just never leaves you.