If there was ever a musical needed in these depressing economic times, “Annie” is it.
Based on the comic strip “Little Orphan Annie,” the musical provides a ray of hope for the future.
“We wanted something that reflected the feelings we have at Holy Family,” said Nancy Figur, who not only produces this year’s show, but is also in charge of costumes.
The musical depicts a spunky, redheaded orphan, who is abused by a cruel orphanage matron.
Annie decides to run away and find her parents. After managing to escape, however, she is caught by the New York Police and sent back. But her luck turns for the better when billionaire Oliver Warbucks decides to invite an orphan over to his house for Christmas and Annie is chosen.
Warbucks and Annie become friends, and he agrees to help her find her parents by putting up a reward.
This leads to a variety of complications and interventions, with some tear-jerking revelations and an eventual happy ending.
Debuted as a newspaper comic strip in 1924, “Little Orphan Annie” grew into a symbol of the times with the crash of the stock market in 1929 and the sense of despair many felt. Designed initially for kids, Annie’s tales became more political as the depression deepened.
The musical, which debuted in Connecticut in 1977, eventually became a hit on Broadway, and remains a popular musical for community theater groups. The musical focuses largely on Annie’s hard work and positive attitude toward the world.
“The theme of ‘Annie,’ which is hope, is also very close to the hearts of the HFA girls,” Figur said.
With many of the regular cast members of past shows graduating last year, this year is something of a rebuilding year. Yet Annie is such a strong show that there is almost no loss in performance.
In some cases, the show also got lucky. Senior Kimberley McGrath, who plays Annie, not only has the required red hair for the part, but she can also sing.
Supplying some of the needed orphan background singing are members of the Holy Family Junior Dance Troupe, giving the show the dancing talent needed.
“‘Annie’ suits the talent we have this year, and because there are so many small moments, everyone seems to get their moment on the stage,” Figur said.
Many of those who performed in the Christmas production are involved with the new play.
Christina Garced said the cast has a good knowledge of dance and song, and though the large cast can be challenging, the show will be very colorful.
“This year, we wanted to pick a show that represented celebration and hope to reflect our joy about the recent news that Holy Family Academy will stay open,” Figur said. “[This musical] portrays one of the toughest economic times in American history. The play uses the song ‘Tomorrow’ as a mantra to get through the hardships, many of which have come part of our lives today.”
The musical will be performed on Thursday, April 23; Friday, April 24; and Saturday, April 25; at 8 p.m. and on Sunday, April 26, at 3 p.m. For more information about Annie, call (201) 339-7341.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.