And the audience loved her

SAN JOSÉ, CA – If Annie, the protagonist of the musical, “ANNIE”,  had been born, she would  be now 88 years old.  But Annie will never age. She will  remain an eleven year old girl forever because she is not a person. Annie is a cartoon character created by artist HAROLD GRAY (l994-1968)  as a drawing of a girl meant to be the heroine of  “Little Orphan Annie, “ comic strip that came to light in the New York Daly News in August 5, 1924 for the first time.

GRAY got the idea for his comic character  after reading  the poem, “LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE” written by JAMES WHITCOM RILEY, in which RILEY describes  an orphan girl by the name of Annie who accompanied by her dog Sandy, encounter a series of adventures in the street. Secondary characters in GRAY’s comic strip were: her benefactor Oliver Warbucks, Punjab, and Mr. Am. With its political commentaries on timely themes, the strip attracted  many ,adult readers . After GRAY’s death in 1968, several artists continue drawing Annie and her adventures inspire a radio show in 1930 and films adaptations.

“ANNIE’s  program adds to the musical story by telling us that in 1970, Lyricist-Director MARTIN CHARNIN brought a coffee table book called “The Life and Hard Time of Little Orphan Annie” as a gift for a friend, but after reading the book, fell in love with the story and secured its rights to use it in the creation of a musical. After championing his idea to his colleges CHARLES STROUSE , a two-time Tony Awards® winner composer and THOMAS MEEHAN, a short story writer from The New Yorker, Annie the musical was born.  

Six of the The orphans in the orphanage

Logically,  in the musical, the story  begin in the New York City orphanage. With Mollie (BUNNY BALDWIN) the youngest of the girls crying for her parents in the middle of the night. Annie (TORI BATES)  tries to console her singing “Maybe” and the other orphans making fun of her for believing that one day her parents, who had left her at the orphanage’s door as a baby. are going to return to claim her.

Annie,s  adventures begin when she scapes from the “Hard knock life” the orphans had to endure under the management of their drunkard Director  Miss Hannigan (ERIN FISH)and starts roaming the streets of New York City. Her life changes completely after  billionaire Oliver Warbucks (GILGAMESH TAGGETT) decides to invite “an orphan” to spend Christmas at his mansion on fifth Avenue, and Annie is selected. And believing that things will get better tomorrow, as described in the lyrics of her song by the same name, Annie’s optimism changes not only Warbucks, but the President of the United states F.D.R (JEFFREY B DUNCAN) and the members of his cabinet, who after all began thinking positive way to put people back to work end the depression.

Lily (MALLORY KING) Rooster (Michael Santora) and ERIN FISH as Miss Hannigan the three villains in the story of ANNIE
Lily (MALLORY KING) Rooster (Michael Santora) and ERIN FISH as Miss Hannigan the three villains in the story of ANNIE

And since a story that won 7 Tony Awards® including one for best book of a Musical, ANNIE, the musical needed antagonists or villains to try complicate Annie’s life and with Miss Hannigan her brother Rooster and his girl Lilly, we have the perfect ones. And with ANNIE in town and in spite of the storms, from January 6 to January 8th, We in San Jose, continue believing that the “Sun would come out tomorrow.”

In ANNIE, Broadway San Jose, a Netherlander Presentation, brought to the city and enchanting show, where singers sing well, dance well, and even Annie and his group of orphans: Molly (BUNNY BALDWIN), Pepper (AMANDA SWICKLE) Duffy (KATIE WYLIE) July (JACQUELINE GALVANO) Tessie (AMANDA WYLE) and Kate (AVA SLATER) performs like professionals.

The adult roles, Warbucks, Miss Hannigan and Grace Farrell (CASEY PINS) were realistic and the story moved smoothly from beginning to end. The sets in the production (specially the interior sets in Warbucks’ home) were beautiful, the only thing we missed in this productions is the lights on Broadway at night.

If ANNIE had been shown at the S.J. Center for the Performing Arts for a few days more, it would have been wonderful. Many people who wanted to see the show were unable to see it in such a short time, and this production of ANNIE was one of those productions where at the end,the audience stand up and cheer because it was great. I guess, that we needed ANNIE's optimist to start the new year with hope. We all need to believe that things will get better for us…tomorrow.