Annie is one of the most recognizable musicals in theatre. Say the title and you’ll get a plethora of reactions, from love to loathe.
My love for Annie goes back to my 12-13 year old self, who listened endlessly to side A of the record album (yes, record album!) I memorized the lyrics to Hard Knock Life, imagined what New York City looked like at Christmas and made my poodle play Sandy while I sang my guts out belting Tomorrow. I was always one who loved Annie. Screaming, singing children doing their best Andrea McArdle impersonation? Not so much.
So when I was approached about participating in Annie as a fundraiser event for a local theatre group I couldn’t say no. My inner 12 year old was thrilled! Although, at this point in my life I would be belting about Herbert Hoover, and not Hard Knock Life (the perils of growing older!)
It had been awhile since I had visited Miss Hannigan and the orphans but I felt like I was with old friends during our rehearsals. The songs flooded back and the memory of my dog, Holly, doing her best Sandy impression made me smile. I was also able to look at Annie in a different way as an adult.
These are turbulent times we live in. Our country is divided in a way I’m not sure we have ever been. I see news stories of the homeless epidemic in some of our big cities. Children are faced with dilemnas adults can’t even imagine with the pressures of social media. Annie, and Annie, speak to these problems with optimism and hope.
Annie, the character, is in a pretty sad situation. Left at an orphanage when she was a baby with a note saying her parents were coming back? Well, where are they??? She is a ray of sunshine in a group of other girls who are also in this predicament. Each orphan brings a different personality to the group, from tough to anxiety ridden to very young. Annie loves them all and takes on the mother role. She never loses the hope her parents are out there.
I love that Annie finds good in everyone. Even when asked who she would like to attend her adoption celebration, one of the people she wants there is Miss Hannigan- clearly a character who has been quite awful to her and the other orphans. But Annie thinks of her and wants to celebrate with her. What does that say to us? In the end Miss Hannigan gets hers, but Annie has shown kindness to the person who was the worst to her.
What I see each night while acting my way through multiple costume changes, is a character we can all learn something from. As we get older, we sometimes lose our innocence and just forget that everything will be ok as we trudge through each day. We get bogged down with the hardships and negative. But- the sun does come up each morning and we have the chance to reset our button each day. You alone get to choose how you face your day. Will you wallow in self pity and doubt, paralyzed by the craziness of the world around you, with sunglasses blocking out the sun? Or, will you choose to get up, take those sunglasses off and try to make a difference for yourself and the people you care for? Bask in the glow, even if it’s cloudy, or raining. It’s a glorious thing!
Annie gets her happy ending in the show. It gets tied up in a neat musical theatre bow. Life isn’t always so scripted. But how we choose to navigate it can be. As I said, we have the choice each day. We have the chance to reset our button when we get out of bed. We can clear the cobwebs out and face the day, whether it be grey or sunny. And if the day doesn’t turn out the way we want, because it will from time to time, push that chin up and put a smile on your face. Annie came to me during a difficult time in my life. She gave me a positive perspective and reminded me of a few things. Keep your chin up, be kind to everyone and keep telling yourself there is always tomorrow. Tomorrow can and will be a great day!
Take Z Challenge:
When you wake up, before you get out of bed, take a minute and be thankful for something good in your life. Let that thankfulness follow you and fill you up if a hard knock comes your way. And if you hum a little of Tomorrow, that’s ok too!