Annie is a decidedly old-fashioned piece of entertainment: based on a Depression-era comic strip by a deeply conservative cartoonist, it debuted on Broadway back in 1977. The protagonist is utterly innocent, the villains gleefully melodramatic, and the mood unabashedly optimistic. But the mop-topped eternal little girl and her canine pal, Sandy, show no signs of aging, much less stopping (although the strip itself finally ended in 2010). After an initial Broadway run of almost six years, the musical launched countless tours, international productions, and a beloved film starring Carol Burnett and Albert Finney. Audiences remain enraptured by the heartwarming tale of a spirited girl determined to find familial love in the face of a devious orphanage matron and her scheming cohorts. Songs from the musical have burrowed deep into pop culture, including instantly recognizable hits such as “Tomorrow,” “Maybe,” and “It’s the Hard-Knock Life,” the last of which was sampled by rapper Jay-Z to bolster his street cred by pretending he controlled a pack of orphans.
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