‘Annie’ brings timely message to Beaver Creek | VailDaily.com

‘Annie’ brings timely message to Beaver Creek

Caramie Schnell
Beaver Creek CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily/Phil Martin

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado “-Even though it was penned more than 30 years ago, “Annie” ” a musical set in Depression-era New York City ” might be more relevant now, during uncertain economic times, than ever before. After all, the Tony Award-winning production preaches optimism in times of crisis.

“It’s like we wrote it yesterday,” agreed Kary Walker, the executive producer of the 30th anniversary tour of the musical. “We’re getting huge laughs in the show now that weren’t necessarily intended to be laughs, just because of what’s changed in the country.”

One such scene takes place in the second act with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his cabinet.

“Annie sings a reprise of ‘Tomorrow’ and then the entire cabinet starts singing ‘Tomorrow.’ It used to be sort of a silly thing, now it’s sort of touching,” Walker said.

The lessons audience goers take away from the show haven’t changed, Walker said.

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“It’s hang in there, hang in there,” he said. “It’s all the lyrics of ‘Tomorrow,’ those are the lessons … ‘When I’m stuck with a day that’s gray and lonely, I just stick out my chin and grin, and say, oh! The sun’ll come out tomorrow.'”

The classic Broadway musical, on tour since 2005, makes a stop at the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek tonight at 7:30 p.m. And not to worry, this production is the real deal “-it’s directed by Martin Chandin, the man who originally brought the production to Broadway in 1977, the music is by Charles Strouse (“Bye Bye Birdie”) and the set was designed by Yale professor and Tony Award winner Ming Cho Lee.

“Ming is a very famous New York designer, he teaches set design at Yale,” Walker said. “He used a lot of forced perspective for the set. The second scene in the show, called ‘Hooverville,’ takes place under a bridge. You swear, you think the bridge is a solid piece of scenery but at the end it flies out and you realize it’s a scenic drop … it plays tricks on your mind. He also does beautiful scene painting, which is almost a lost art.”

If it’s been awhile since your last Annie viewing, here’s the quick synopsis: Annie, a plucky 11-year-old is orphaned during the Great Depression. Despite being bullied by boozey Miss Hannigan, the orphanage matron, Annie and the other orphans hold out hope they’ll eventually be adopted. Annie escapes the glum household in search of her lost parents, and eventually winds up at billionaire Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks mansion for the Christmas holidays.

The story is the same as it’s ever been, but each generation falls in love with it anew. And not so surprisingly, the majority of the audience is usually made up of little girls, ages 3 to 12, and their parents, Walker said.

“It’s adorable, almost always you have little girls show up dressed as Annie, they come in in little red velvet dresses, it’s so cute.”

Apparently Depression-era Annie, with her frizzy curls and dour wardrobe, can still hold the attention of little girls raised on “Hannah Montana” and “High School Musical.”

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or cschnell@vaildaily.com.

What: Annie the musical

Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek

When: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $55-$95

More information: Call 970-845-TIXS

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