If you’re like me, you’ve seen several film versions of the classic musical, Annie, but there’s nothing like watching the red-dressed orphan’s story come to life in a theater setting. I remember fondly seeing it for the first time as a child and the thrill of hearing numbers like “Tomorrow” and “It’s a Hard Knock Life” performed live before your very eyes.
A new production is coming to the Providence Performing Arts Center this week, which will help get you through the winter blues. Considering that a cold snap is coming to the Northeast later in the week, spending time in a warm theater might hit the spot. Plus, BankNewport is offering a special Family Night ticket deal for Wednesday, February 1, where you can buy one, get one free, available only at the box office, or call 401-421-ARTS (2787).
"“This show, with its iconic title character, continues to delight generations of theatre-lovers old and new by joyfully singing directly into the face of great adversity with perseverance, guts and guile,” said director Jenn Thompson about the Encore Series production. “For decades, Annie has continued to shine brightly, not only as an appeal to our better angels, but also as an example of the thrill of hope, hard-won: promising a better ‘Tomorrow’ not only for Annie herself, but for all who need her message now more than ever.”"
Jenn Thompson knows all about Annie, having starred in the original Broadway production herself, as “Pepper.” How cool is that? Life, it seems has come full circle for Thompson, who is directing this new North American Tour production, playing in Providence from January 31 – February 5, 2023.
If the story of Annie seems like it’s been around forever, it practically has! In fact, it’s a creative story that’s coming upon its 100th anniversary. The original story began as a famous comic strip, Little Orphan Annie, helmed by Harold Gray and published in the New York Daily News on August 5, 1924. The adventures of the flaming-haired orphan were widely read in the 1930s and 40s. Lyricist Martin Charnin fell in love with the story of the orphan girl with gumption and promptly secured the rights to create the musical generations have grown to love, which debuted August 10, 1976, at the Goodspeed Opera House, and then graduated to Broadway on April 21, 1977.
The charming story of Annie’s antics not only won the hearts of audiences worldwide, but was of course lauded with multiple awards including several New York Drama Critics Circle and Drama Desk awards, a Grammy, and the coveted Tony Awards (Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score). It’s been revived twice on Broadway ever since and there have been three film adaptations—I’m partial to the original movie, but each version has its merits.
The current production of Annie will feature South Florida native Ellie Pulsifer—aged 12—in the title role, Christopher Swan (Oliver Warbucks), and Stefanie Londino as the scene-stealing Miss Hannigan (always my favorite character).
Leaping lizards! Annie is playing at the Providence Performing Arts Center this week, and you can get more information here.