Boston, Mass – We just hosted 30 six- and seven-year-olds for the twins’ birthday party. Next week I will jet off to Russia and Finland for the summer. And Daddio is looking forward to two weeks as a single parent, before he and the twins meet me in Moscow. What better time for an afternoon at the theater? I couldn’t help it. I could not pass up the chance to take the kids to see Annie, my best favorite musical from my childhood.
As a child, I went to see Annie with my grandmother–surely one of the most memorable Christmas gifts I ever received. She took me to the fabulous Fisher Theater in downtown Detroit, which made for a truly special occasion. I had the record album at home, so I already knew the songs, but my grandmother bought me the sheet music so I could see all the lyrics and even play the music on the piano. My best friend and I spent hours learning and performing those songs for each other.
What better way to spend Mother’s Day, than reliving this memory and introducing my children to the musical?
The story was familiar to them, as we have watched the 1982 movie. (I’m not sure why I never saw this movie as a child, but I have no sentimental attachment to it. I can honestly say it is a poor substitute for the live show. What can I say? I’ll take Broadway over Hollywood any day. But seeing the moving ahead of time does help the kids to understand what they are watching.)
Seeing a show with child performers is always a win. These girls did a phenomenal job. The twins could not take their eyes off the stage in the opening scene, when the girls in the orphanage are dancing and singing away their misery. They were blown away by the amazing acrobatics and dance moves.
As a child I missed most of the political references of this play. For example, when Annie accompanies gazillionaire Daddy Warbucks to his meeting with President Franklin D Roosevelt, she serenades him with “The sun’ll come out tomorrow.” I remember this… but did not realize that this song actually inspires FDR to implement the The New Deal. That was lost on me. Go figure.
But many of the political messages are comprehensible to children–and relevant. The disparity between the haves and have-nots; the importance of bridging that gap and helping people who are less fortunate. How about finding the political compromise that allows for a just solution?
Most of all and more than ever, I appreciated Annie’s sense of hope–that reminder that whatever is happening now–our specific political mess—is temporary. The sun will come out tomorrow (or in four years), and it will get better. (Then it will rain again, and it will get worse, but then it will get better again. And so on and so forth.)