Friday, November 23, 2007

You be Molly and I'll be Pepper!

If you are of a certain age, like mine, then you spent many afternoons riding your bike through your neighborhood singing "Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I love ya' Tomorrow" at the top of your lungs. Or you'd stomp up to clean your room and slam your door and start yelling, "You'll stay up til this dump shines like the top of the Chrysler Building!" or when your mother told you that you can't go to your friend's house for a sleepover, you'd mumble under your breath, "I love you Miss Hannigan." You know what I'm talking about.

Somehow that spunky little orphan has found her way back into my life. But more importantly, into the lives of my children. I was 7yrs old when I went with my Brownie troop to the Fox Theater to see the Broadway production of Annie. I was completely in love. What isn't their to love about that musical? It has everything a 7 year old girl could ask for. Horribly dramatic conditions, oppressive dominant female figure, a bunch of hilarious and extremely loyal friends, a lost dog who claims you as his own and you can cry into his scruffy neck, an opportunity to live in a mansion, a daddy figure to save, a redemption for all your friends as you bring down the dominant female figure, and lots and lots of fabulous musical and dance numbers. I would play my Original Cast album on my little plastic record player over and over and over. It was the soundtrack to my 2nd grade year.

Then 4 years later along comes a movie version. I thought, "Wahoo!" only to be extremely disappointed. I mean, don't get me wrong. Carol Burnette was the most brilliant performance of Mrs. Hannigan I have ever seen. And Bernadette Peters? *swoon* I was never a huge fan of Aileen Quinn but remember my Annie virginity was lost to Andrea McArdle. But, what was up with Punjab? Why did we need to add him? or the crazy bridge scene at the end? I don't get it.

So, imagine my surprise when my kids turn up with the Disney version that was released in 1999. It has been playing in my house non-stop. And no car ride has been complete without the soundtrack on repeat. It has been all Annie, all the time. Now I haven't been particularly impressed with this new version either. It has all the Broadway clout I could ask for, including Alicia Morton from Les Miserables. They shot it to be more of a filming of a Broadway show. But, they cut a ton of the historical stuff out of it. They cut the romance between Daddy Warbucks and Grace! And the characters are completely whitewashed. Miss. Hannigan is not a villain, she is simply misunderstood! Even Annie is extremely Pollyanna-ish. No tough attitude, no street smarts, just a way too sunny charm. You don't feel the real desperation of these girls living in horrid conditions, they are way to perky. Even when they sing "It's a Hard Knock Life," they sound too sweet and happy!

Maybe this is best for the ages of my kids. But, I've learned that Annie is coming to our theater this Christmas season and I think we are going to have to see if we can tickets. After all, yesterday when I told Jellybean that she couldn't have anymore orange soda, I heard her mumble as I turned around, "I love you Miss Hannigan."