Annie- It’s a Hard Knock Life!!

Everybody’s favorite little orphan, Annie has been gracing stages all over the world with her adorable antics. Her story is set in the early 1930s New York in a rundown all girls orphanage, Annie and her friends are trying to survive the terrible conditions of their loveless “home.” Tired of being forced to do sewing and hard labor for their head mistress Miss Hannigan, Annie attempts to escape once again from the orphanage. As she sets off on her New York adventure, she meets a new friend Sandy the dog but is caught once again and returned to the orphanage. In a nice turn of events, a wealthy Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks shows up to the orphanage looking for a child to invite to his annual Christmas party. Annie is chosen and her life is transformed for the better and eventually taking her under his wing. However, Annie encounters hurdles when Daddy Warbucks attempts to help her locate her real parents and instead finds people only trying to take advantage of her and the reward offered.

This classic tale has been a fan favorite for over a hundred years and you can make it your very own on stage. The scenes for this particular production are quite simple and easy to put together. To start off, we have the scene introducing the orphan girls. The best backing to fit would be a dingy dormitory or a large open room with a warn look to reflect the harsh conditions of the Orphanage.

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Next, when Annie attempts to escape the orphanage, we see her walking the streets of New York.  The backgrounds for this particular scene would of course highlight some of the big apples staple looks such as buildings made of Brownstone for that New York borough feel or tenement buildings to give the busy downtown apartment to have that lived in feel. In addition to these scenes, should you want Annie to walk through the more metropolitan areas, you can use backings with recognizable landmarks; such as the theater district, Broadway or maybe just use a New York Skyline or Montage where you can show the idea of her wandering through the streets alone. Your choice would most likely depend on whether you want a broad wandering through New York or if you want to highlight the more intimate scenes; such as the time when Annie meets Sandy.

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For the Christmas party, this should be a fairly easy set up with the right backing and props. Since we are talking about the home or mansion of Daddy Warbucks, it’s safe to assume that he may not reside in the most modest looking home. In which case, we may want to think about this Christmas event taking place in a large hall or grand Parlor with Christmas embellishments already on the backing or as something you can add to the backing with prop trees and other holiday décor. Another scene you can stage when Annie is taken to visit the White House or DC area with a backing out the White House in the background or maybe a patriotic symbol like the US flag or a well-known monument. You’ll set the scene make an impact when Annie meets Franklin Roosevelt and reveals who her real parents are.

Stylized Parlor

 

And there it is folks! The perfect set for one of the most beloved musicals in theater history. Being such a simple story, many of the Annie scenes are clean and to the point so you would not have to break the bank trying to create the perfect production. But of course, this is YOUR performance so adding props and/or elaborate costumes would be great if you have the means to do so. You can take your audience from rags to riches with just a quick change of scenery, and maybe a cute little puppy. Tomorrow is yours!!  So make Annie proud and make it a good one!

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