Annie is known as a grand and emotional musical nowadays, though it was once little more than a comic strip by Harold Gray known as Little Orphan Annie. Ever since its original Broadway production in 1977, the same year it won a Tony for Best Musical, it has inspired many knock-offs, film versions, amateur plays and even a stage sequel.
It’s hard to deny that Annie is a true iconic musical, just as engrained into American pop culture as The Phantom of the Opera and The Wizard of Oz. It could be argued that Annie is an uncompromising part of 1970s culture, whereas other musicals are timeless. After all, the 1982 John Huston film doesn’t age well, as it is an odd mix of irony and naiveté, that characterized the decade well, and was perfectly embodied by hammy, villainous stars Carol Burnett and Tim Curry.
Nevertheless, the music of Annie(with music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin) is timeless, and continues to give heart to the musical. As an idealized vision of orphan-turned-adopted-child destiny, Annie does tug at the heartstrings, and particularly so when she or Oliver Warbucks sings “Maybe” or “Tomorrow”.
The good news is that you don’t have to rely on the trippy 1980s musical to enjoy Annie again. The show is coming back to Broadway in the fall of 2012 in honor of the 35th anniversary of the musical. Thomas Meehan is presiding over the show and that is good news for Broadway fans, considering that he directed the original musical as well as the beloved Mel Brooks’ farce, The Producers in 2001. James Lapine is expected to direct the production, and his past hits have included Into the Woods, Falsettos, and Passion. This is looking to be a great musical, as the best of Broadway is involved in the making of it.
Perhaps a successful theatre run will reignite Hollywood’s interest in the musical and we will see a re-launch in 2013? Or is that too much Annie-like optimism for you? Come see the precocious redhead in person and hear some of the best theatre songs in the history of Broadway! Get your Annie musical tickets today!