President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sat with his Cabinet despairing over the state of the United States. The Seal of the President of the United States loomed over the Cabinet, a constant reminder of their duty to their country. Millions of citizens were unemployed. Factories were shutting down left and right. Annie the loveable orphan, who was sitting in on the meeting could take it no more. She stood up and changed the mood with one of most well-known songs in Broadway history. The sun will come out tomorrow. Annie jumps up on the table and before you know it F.D.R. demands that his Cabinet sing along and even he, the President of the United States joins in. Gone is the feeling of despair, in comes the feeling of hope, felt throughout the entire theater. Soon after this amusing number – who doesn’t love seeing businessmen sing and dance like an eleven year old girl, F.D.R and his cabinet come up with a plan to save the country… A New Deal.
Annie, playing at the Orpheum Theatre is showing through April fifth. Bring your kids, bring a friend, bring your ten year old sister – this classic tale is for everyone. While featured as a show for kids, I think that people often forget the history and politics that are in the show. Over and over political agendas and themes of the 1930’s are mentioned. The Great Depression, Hoovervilles, The New Deal, even Al Capone was mentioned.
Annie meets people in a Hooverville, a shanty town for the homeless, named after former President Herbert Hoover who was blamed for The Great Depression. Hiding under a bridge from the police, the homeless are ragged and stooped. They try to warm themselves with newspapers and make soup over a garbage can fire. They ooze sarcasm angrily singing We’d Like to Thank You, complaining about Hoover’s failure to the American people. “In ev’ry pot he said a chicken. But Herbert Hoover he forgot. Not only don’t we have the chicken, we ain’t got a pot!”
Not only were adults feeling the strain of the depression, but so were kids. My all-time favorite Annie musical number did not disappoint in showing this. Annie, played by Issie Swickle, strongly led the orphans in an impressive rendition of It’s The Hard Knock Life. I could feel their angst and want of a “typical life” with a mother and father.
I highly suggest seeing this show. Its everything you love about Annie with a little extra spice. The biggest surprise, which is also one of my only complaints, was the hair. Annie. With straight hair?! Aside from that and a few technical difficulties the show ran smoothly. The orchestra was well-balanced and complimented the actors very well. The ensemble, instead of being background for the main actors, really added to the show. If you want to make sure that “You’re Fully Dressed” go see Annie at the Orpheum Theatre. You’ll be smiling and humming along for the rest of the evening.