leapin' lizards!

I love you Miss Hannigan!

I love Annie.  LOVE that musical.  I especially love the 1982 film version which was always one of my "comfort" movies as a child.  [I was somewhat of a sickly child, and when I was growing up, the grocery store in my town had a small video rental section by the pharmacy.  After a trip to the doctor, while waiting to get my medications, my mom would let me pick out a movie to watch.  I associate comfort movies with being sick, but it's not a negative memory for me.  Funny.]  From the opening credits with the locket, til the very end, I'm entranced with the film.  I would sing all of the songs over and over again, as I'm sure many young girls did.  I romanticized the idea of being an orphan, which now sounds so silly from my adult perspective (I am super thankful for my family & the home I grew up in!), but being with all those other girls, singing and dancing and jumping on beds seemed like a lot of fun!  To this day, I still watch this movie every few months because it puts me in the best mood.  Annie is a great example to us all.  Her life isn't the greatest, an orphan in Depression era NYC, living with Miss Hannigan of all people to watch over her, but she still has fun and keeps a great attitude.  Then she gets a chance of a lifetime and continues to spread her joy when she moves in with Daddy Warbucks.  Throughout everything she always thinks of others and making her friends happy.  She's pretty awesome.  And the songs are so easy to belt out and enjoy.  John actually gifted me the dvd this past Christmas, up until that point I had been watching it on Netflix (which we don't have anymore, so I'm even more glad I have the movie) because I only had it on VHS and have long lived without a working VCR.  I was SO HYPED to get this movie.  Click here to see what our exchange was like when I opened it! Ha :)

Anyway, I bring up Annie because I've been reading articles about the Broadway revival and the casting of the new Annie.  A young lady named Lilla Crawford will be playing her in the Fall 2012 run.  Reading these articles reminded me of a documentary I watched last year called Life After Tomorrow.  I would definitely recommend this documentary because, frankly, it's rather disturbing.  I don't think that was its intent, but that is how I found it.  Annie came to Broadway in the late 70s and ran through the early 80s, during that time a slew of young girls played Annie and the main orphans.  This documentary interviews them, their experiences then and their life now.  The most famous of these, of course, is Sarah Jessica Parker.  I took away a lot from this documentary and it made me question some things.  These girls are between the ages of 9-13, the musical is wildly famous and they are welcomed at establishments that are NOT meant for children (Studio 54, for example), and are worked day and night and sent on tour to continue to work day and night.  The most frightening thing to me however was how damaging it was to the girls views of womanhood.  They were so scared to grow up.  Annie is an 11 year old girl, and as you know, it can be a difficult time for girls as they are entering puberty.  The title role was so coveted, and all the main orphans wanted to be Annie, that the girl that had the role was afraid for the day she'd grow breasts and get taller because the director would literally rip the wig off her head as she came off stage for her bow, put the wig on another orphan and send that child out to be praised by the public because she would be a new Annie.  It was devastating to these small girls.  Can you just imagine all the psychological damage from that?  Their hard work was ripped from them the moment their bodies do what they are supposed to do and so they resent becoming a woman.   It's crazy.  I do hope people have seen that documentary now that Annie is coming back to Broadway again.  Hopefully the way the girls are treated is better now than it was then.  I feel like conditions are probably a lot better now than they were, but then again, I do not know.  But I do wish the best of luck to the new cast and Lilla Crawford (and her, hopefully involved, parents).  I would like to see this musical on stage sometime soon.

So yes, check out Annie... whether it's rewatching the 1982 version, giving the documentary a try, or seeing it this fall in New York City!  It's a delightful story of hope.

photo credits:  one / two

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