"Maybe far away
Or maybe real nearby
He may be pouring her coffee
She may be straightening his tie!
Maybe in a house
All hidden by a hill
She's sitting playing piano,
He's sitting paying a bill!”
I get goosebumps any time I hear the red-headed orphan sing this song in the opening of the musical “Annie” as she is longing for her parents. I love musicals, especially ones that have a happy ending. In “ Annie” I am drawn to the good vs. evil, children singing and dancing, the rags to riches storyline, the suspense of Annie searching for her parents, and the significant relationship between a girl and her dog. Annie was spunky. She was a girl you wanted to be. I remember first hearing about the musical “Annie” when the search was on for the girl to play her on Broadway. This was in 1977. Soon the song “Tomorrow” became popular and I loved hearing the stories of the live dog on the stage.
My first memory of the character was the poem by James Whitcomb Riley that my mom had read to me as a child:
"Little Orphan Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep; “
Actually, this poem inspired the original comic strip. I didn’t really remember the comic strip much except how Little Orphan Annie had those weird eyes without pupils, red hair, and a dog named Sandy. When I was teaching in the Tri-Cities a girl from our school was chosen to play Annie in the Richland Players production of the musical. I kept looking at her, unable to picture her in the part until the day she came to school with bright, curly red hair! Her mom had redone her appearance for the part. I went and saw that production of “ Annie” and got goosebumps. I fell in love with the orphans in “It’s The Hard Knocks Life” as they performed the song and dance routine while cleaning at the orphanage. It was a lively production and the star kept that red hair for the rest of the school year!
Andrea McArdle was the original Annie on Broadway(left) Allison Smith (above) was another Annie before "Kate and Allie" and "West Wing". Sarah Jessica Parker (right) first played July,one of the orphans then played the role of Annie before starring in " Square Pegs" and creating the role of Carrie Bradshaw.
Later I saw “Annie” on stage at the Opera House in Spokane. By then I had seen the movie version and could mouth the lyrics to “Maybe”, “ Tomorrow”, and “I’m Going to Like it Here”. “Annie” is the type of musical that always sticks to the story. I love that nobody has tried to do this musical in modern day, or with Andy instead of Annie, or with a poodle or pug as Sandy. Traditional musicals give me goosebumps. I know there will be a mean Miss Hannigan, a red-haired girl, and an otterhound mix named Sandy. I think all of us growing up had a time when we wanted to run away or wished we had a different parent because we were upset about something. When Annie sang about her love for her long-lost parents in that opening song it made me feel thankful that I always had my parents. It gave me goosebumps that my mom was sitting next to me in Spokane Opera House listening to Annie sing that song:
“So maybe now this prayer's
“So maybe now this prayer's
The last one of it's kind...
Won't you please come get your "Baby"
You can find other Sunday Scribblings about goosebumps here.