On opening night of a new Broadway tour for “Annie” (which has consecutively ran somewhere around the world for the last 39 years), there was a short but memorable scene in which the main character introduces her fellow orphan pals to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. But considering the country is facing The Great Depression when this show is set and the leader known for the slogan “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” was pretty low on the popularity polls, the children have a very unenthusiastic reaction to the otherwise amazing opportunity.
As “Annie” closes with the eternal lines “the sun will come out tomorrow/so you gotta hang on/‘til tomorrow, come what may,” this tried and true musical can still offer some much needed advice for a country that’s once again in the midst of uncertainly.
As a portion of the audience laughed and others yelped in delight, it mirrored the real life scenario playing out just steps outside the Cadillac Palace Theatre as protesters who started at the Trump Tower spilled onto the neighboring streets, even causing many theatergoers to miss the opening curtain. But once everyone made it inside, they were reminded by Annie that no matter how anyone cast their vote or whatever the future brings, “Tomorrow” always has the potential to be a brighter day.
And the little 11-year-old red head (played by the firecracker Tori Bates) would have every reason to be bitter considering she was left by her parents at birth, raised in a less than ideal orphanage, spends some time homeless on the cold streets of New York and is eventually delivered back to the mean Miss Hannigan (Erin Fish) by the police. Throughout it all, Annie refuses to go down for the count, fast-talking her way out of getting into too much trouble and eventually earning the affection of Grace Farrell (Casey Prins), the secretary of the politically-connected business tycoon Oliver Warbucks (Gilgamesh Taggett), who’s looking to invite an orphan to his mansion for two weeks at Christmas.
As the plans are confirmed and the pair develop a great affection towards one another, the idea of Mr. Warbucks adopting Annie comes to the table, but not before placing a national search for her real parents (with some additional help from FDR and the FBI). Of course, the financial incentive that’s also attached means many crazies come out of the woodwork trying to claim their “daughter,” through no matter how many disappointing frauds come to the door, the girl with a “Hard Knock Life” keeps her chin held high.
Eventually the matter is settled, but not without several surprising developments that will keep the young and young at heart guessing until the very end. As “Annie” closes with the eternal lines “the sun will come out tomorrow/so you gotta hang on/‘til tomorrow, come what may,” this tried and true musical can still offer some much needed advice for a country that’s once again in the midst of uncertainly.