Politics and Optimism: Why Annie Still Matters.

Little girls have still got a lot to teach the world. They’ve got their own special brand of magic, to be applied liberally. In the case of Little Orphan Annie, she’s been touching hearts and brightening the outlook since 1924. How can she still be relevant?

Annie, the musical, is playing at The Civic in Auckland until July 6th.The redheaded bubble of optimism makes her way onto the stage with class and a vibrant cast of recognizable faces. The British cast and local chorus bring the story to life with appropriate intensity and execution. It’s really worth heading along to see.

Why is it worth seeing?
The music is great, the songs well executed and the stunning ensemble of orphans will melt your heart – pulling off the more complex and adorable song and dance routines.

More importantly though, you should go and see this show to remember what the human spirit is all about. The political dial is turning up in this election year, and Annie is a story about politics.

Front and centre of the musical (more so than the film, both were distinct productions) is a singular storyline given multiple expressions. One human being doing good for another human being. Human beings in power taking on a responsibility to do good, rather than to simply govern. Those with a lot, trying their best to give in meaningful ways.

A group of Hooverites living in a shantytown feeding a little vagabond girl from their own scraps.

FDR recommitting the government to getting people back to work; Democrats and Republicans working hand in hand.

Oliver Warbucks opening his home and life to a little girl with nothing.

The original Little Orphan Annie was a comic strip created in 1924. An orphan girl caught in the midst of the post-war slide into Depression (the musical and film both catch up with Annie in the early ’30s). Her optimism and hope is the captured human expression of what the American government (Roosevelt and his New Deal) were committed to offering a desperate people.

It’s important to remember that the bigger, human scale story of Annie is about how we find hope in each other and ought to look to tomorrow as a world of possibilities. It’s also a pertinent reminder that sometimes things work out just fine, despite not turning out how you’d like them too.

Don’t be fooled into just singing along. This story should be shaping your view of the world this year.

 

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