Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Just a few tomorrows from today

Okay, I know I'm way too excited about this, but I got a brochure yesterday from the Providence Performing Arts Center, where the Broadway tours stop. In addition to the shows that they announced previously, we're getting Mamma Mia! and Annie! Just looking at the logo makes me smile.

I'll probably see Mamma Mia!, which will be playing from Dec. 30-Jan. 4. I've already caught it on Broadway and I loved the movie, so seeing the musical on tour will complete the circle. Plus, it'll be the middle of winter. What better time to hear those catchy Abba songs again and feel the energy that only comes from a live performance in a packed theatre.

But I'm particularly excited about Annie, which is coming May 1-3. Granted, it's like the 290 zillionth non-Equity tour, the one where they crisscross the country playing in a different city every two or three days, and the sets are painted backdrops. But I don't care. It's Annie for gosh sakes. And I've never seen it on stage.

There'll be a dog, and cute little orphans singing and dancing their little hearts out in New York City during the Great Depression. Plus, it's got a great score by Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin: "It's a Hard Knock Life," "Easy Street," "You're Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile," and of course, "Tomorrow."

(Although I have to wonder what it's like for the little girls in the show, some of whom are as young as 9 years old. I was looking at the tour schedule, and there are some weeks when they're in a different city practically every night!)

I might have mentioned it before, but I have a bit of history with Annie. After we graduated from college, my roommate and I were hanging around in our dorm for a couple of days. A friend of ours worked at a movie theater and could get us in to see anything we wanted for free, which was very appealing since we were unemployed newly minted college graduates. (Well, come to think of it, my roommate had a job, but I didn't).

The problem was, we each wanted to see a different movie. I really, really wanted to see Annie. (As much as I might try to contain it, my latent musical theatre geekdom was struggling to break free even then). My roommate, a big science fiction fan, wanted to see a little Steven Spielberg flick that had just opened by the name of E.T. Apparently, I must have had terrific powers of persuasion back then, because I won!

One of the most fun parts about becoming a full-fledged musical theatre fan, in addition to actually seeing shows for the first time, is collecting all of the assorted paraphernalia that comes with them.

Let's see, this means that I'll have to get the 30th anniversary cast recording of Annie that was released in June. (I already have the 1977 Broadway cast recording). And I'll have to watch Life After Tomorrow, a documentary about the young girls who were in the musical on Broadway. I've already seen the 1999 tv version of Annie that aired on ABC. Maybe, for old time's sake, I'll watch the movie again, too. Am I leaving anything out?


Emily said...

Have you seen the documentary Life After Tomorrow? It's about women who've played or been a part of Annie and their experiences. It was actually very sad and I forget if you've discussed it on here or not.

Sarah B. Roberts said...

The movie gets a bad wrap, but I LOVE IT. And I wasn't a Bernadette fan at that time. My Mom drove me, my friend Jamie and my sister Mary to see it in Odessa for my 14th birthday - a rarity to get to drive all the way to Odessa for a movie! I didn't like the '99 tv movie that much except of course Audra McDonald's performance as Miss Farrell. In San Antonio, I saw one community production and the tour with Sally Struthers as Miss Hannigan at the Majestic Theatre around 2000.

Esther said...

Thanks, Emily! I haven't seen Life After Tomorrow yet, but I am planning on renting it.

I was reading some articles on the Annie tour web site about some of the kids in the show. Some of them are very young. (I think the 9-year-old travels with her mother). They all sound incredibly mature and excited, like being in a national tour of Annie is the dream of a lifetime and will launch them on a fabulous, successful career in showbiz.

But still, it is kind of sad when I think about it. It's not like they're working in a coal mine, but it's not exactly an easy, carefree childhood, either. Still, if it's what they want and they enjoy it, who am I to judge?

Esther said...

Hey Sarah,
What a wonderful birthday present! I did enjoy the movie, although I don't think my roommmate did. I'll definitely have to watch it again before next May. The '99 version was ok, and of course, Audra is always awesome.

And Sally Struthers, wow! That's pretty neat. I don't think anyone remotely well known (except to their friends and families) will be in this tour.

Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Esther, I loved the show when I first saw it in London back in 1979, and it paved the way for my continuing fascination with live theatre that is still alive and well today.

I will caution that I caught a touring production of this a couple months before I started my blog and was disappointed with the production.

Nevertheless, one of the books that I've recently purchased is Charles Strouse's "Put On A Happy Face," and I also recently reinvested in a CD recording of the original Broadway cast.

Annie will always have a special place in my heart, and I hope it works its way into yours as well.

Esther said...

Awww, thanks, Steve!

Of course I know what an incredibly special place "Annie" holds in your heart and in your theatergoing experience. To see it in the midst of a high school trip to London, wow! Not much could top that!

Ok, I know that Providence isn't quite as exciting but I'm hoping the show will work some of the same magic.

And thanks for mentioning the Charles Strouse book. I think it would be a great companion either before or after I see "Annie." I'm also planning on picking up the 30th anniversary cast recording. It is a terrific score with so many memorable songs.