In 1972, Martin Charnin bought the rights to the comic strip Little Orphan Annie. With Thomas Meehan and Charles Strouse, he created the Broadway musical Annie in 1977. After 2,377 performances, four national tours, and five Broadway Annies, the musical ended its New York City run in 1983. There have since been two revivals marking the show's 20th and 35th anniversaries (in 1997 and 2012) on top of numerous professional and amateur productions.New York City, 1932. Eleven-year-old Annie has been living in cruel Miss Hannigan's orphanage her whole life. After her latest unsuccessful escape attempt (during which she meets a stray dog she christens Sandy), secretary Grace Farrell decides to take the child home to temporarily live with billionaire Oliver Warbucks over the Christmas season as a publicity stunt for the grumpy tycoon. The plucky orphan worms her way into the hearts of the staff and Mr. Warbucks and even the President of the United States! Even though Mr. Warbucks wants to adopt her, he agrees to help her search for her real parents, who left half of a locket with her when they dropped her off at the orphanage as a baby. Miss Hannigan's brother and his sleazy girlfriend pose as Annie's parents to gather the reward that Warbucks has offered to Annie's real parents.In 1982, John Huston directed a film version of Annie, which made a goodly number of changes to the play: comic strip characters Punjab and Asp are supporting players, Sandy gets more screentime, songs are added and dropped, and the climax is peril-filled. Annie was played by Aileen Quinn, heading up an All-Star Cast of adult players. E.T. kept it from being the Summer Blockbuster it was intended to be, but it became an early VHS video store staple. A lot of '80s kids have the damn thing memorized.In 1989, Charnin reunited the old team and they created a sequel to the play, Annie 2: Miss Hannigan's Revenge. Two name changes, tons of rewrites, and three Annies later, the play ended up off-Broadway as Annie Warbucks in 1993. You're probably hearing about it for the first time right here.In 1995, a Made-for-TV Movie called Annie: A Royal Adventure! premiered on ABC. It is presumably a sequel to the 1982 film (at least that's how IMDb recognizes it), but it has none of the same cast and is not a musical (unless you count a single reprise of "Tomorrow" at the end).In 1999, ABC-Disney produced a Made-for-TV Movie version of Annie, which made its own share of changes to the stage show. It starred Alicia Morton, with Kathy Bates as Miss Hannigan.The 2006 DocumentaryLife After Tomorrow revisits many of the women who played orphans in the stage casts.Quvenzhané Wallis (known for Beasts Of The Southern Wild) will star in another movie adaptation of this musical, scheduled for a Christmas Day 2014 release. It contains some new songs by Jay-Z.
The musical includes examples of:
Adaptation Name Change: In the comic strip, the orphanage was run by the cruel Miss Asthma. The musical changes her to Miss Hannigan.
Artistic License - History: FDR's disability was concealed from the public during his lifetime, with a variety of tricks used to make him appear able-bodied at public appearances. He would not have attended a large party in his now iconic wheelchair, as occurs at the end of Annie. To date, there are only three photos and no footage of him in his wheelchair.
I Can Explain: Shortly after Annie's attempt to escape from Miss Hannigan's orphanage, a woman arrives and announces that she has been sent to talk to Miss Hannigan by the orphanage's board of directors. Miss Hannigan is in full self-justifying flight before the woman has a chance to explain that actually she's just come to arrange for one of the orphans to spend some time with Warbucks.
Illegal Guardian: Rooster Hannigan and Lily St. Regis (or Miss Hannigan in the 1999 film) pretend to be Little Orphan Annie's "real parents" to scam reward money out of Daddy Warbucks.
Ironic Echo: Miss Hannigan punishes any orphan she suspects of being dishonest: "What's the one thing I've taught you? Never tell a lie!" At the end, as Miss Hannigan is being carted away by the authorities, she pleads with Annie to witness that she's treated the orphans well; Annie's response is to apologize and remind her that there's one thing she's taught them...
Team Mom: Annie is this for the orphan girls, particularly Molly, the youngest.
That Reminds Me of a Song: Quite a few of the musical numbers, including "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile", where the orphans make a big number out of a radio toothpaste commercial.
The Trap Parents: After Daddy Warbucks offers a reward for information about Annie's parents, they turn up to claim her and take her away; but it's not really her parents, just con artists trying for the reward. Played with a bit in that Warbucks and company were aware of this trope and were rightfully suspicious of the many couples who showed up claiming to be Annie's parents. The con artists slip through only because Miss Hannigan gave them confidential information about Annie.
Writer on Board: The musical takes the time to glorify FDR and the New Deal, which was the opposite of Harold Gray's free-market politics. Both film versions eliminate the two most overtly political songs, "We'd Like to Thank You, Herbert Hoover" and "A New Deal for Christmas". The 1999 version pretty much cuts out the political content entirely.
In addition to tropes shared with the stage musical, the 1982 movie has examples of:
Actor Allusion: Kind of an unusual example. President Roosevelt is played by Edward Herrmann, who had previously gotten Emmy nominations for playing FDR in a pair of '70s made-for-TV biopics.
Anachronism Stew: That helicopter is quite advanced for 1933. Considering Warbucks calls it an "auto-copter" and describes it as though it's a new invention, it's possibly meant to be some kind of Diesel Punk device. Perhaps his car phone (!) is a similar deal. One wonder what World War II will look like in the Annie Verse.
All-Star Cast: Carol Burnett as Miss Hannigan, Albert Finney as Warbucks, Tim Curry as Rooster, Bernadette Peters as Lily, and so on.
Blatant Lies: When Miss Hannigan tries to come up with a reason that Grace shouldn't want to take Annie all she can come up with is "She's a drunk."
Borrowed Catchphrase: Warbucks says "Leapin' lizards!" when he finds out Annie's "parents" are con-artists.
British Stuffiness: Warbucks is initally stuffy in every version, but only in this version is he played by a British actor. The film explains that he was born in Liverpool.
Death by Adaptation: In the stage version, Annie's parents had merely "passed away" years ago; the film includes a revelation that they were killed in a fire. (This lets Rooster and Lily's deception be more convincing, because Miss Hannigan is able to supply them with the other half of Annie's locket, which has been in the orphanage's keeping all along. It also means that once Annie finds out, she has no more reason not to stay with Warbucks.)
"She may be a rotten little orphan, but I'm not gonna let you kill her!
Happy Dance: "We Got Annie". Grace has already seen how mean Miss Hannigan is, so after she sends Warbucks off to seal the adoption deal, knowing that it's a lock, she and the staff celebrate.
Heel-Face Turn: Miss Hannigan, but only in this version. To the confusion of many a kid viewer, she's rewarded when the romantic loose ends are tied up. In the stage musical and in the 1999 film, she remains evil and is sent to jail along with Rooster and Lily.
Annie: Cut it out! I mean it! Do you want Miss Hannigan to come in here?! Go back to bed! (turns to Pepper) Now! Or you'll have me to deal with!
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Pepper, she's mean to Molly and threatens her on a few occasions, but when all the orphans are locked in a closet by Miss Hannigan, she's the one who helps them find a way out.
Judo Chop: Punjab inflicts it twice on a PA at Bert Healy's radio show when he tries to shush Annie, and then (having learned nothing) Warbucks himself.
Miss Hannigan as Mrs. Mudge: And the very nice and very attractive lady at the orphanage said we'd find Annie here.
Conflict Killer: The film opens with Annie breaking up a fight between July and Pepper.[[note]]This also happens in the 1982 movie, but occurs just a little bit later, plus several of the orphans fight at once.
"Lay off July! If Hannigan wakes up, she'll get sore!"
Annie:(to Pepper after she makes fun of Annie's parents' note) Do you wanna sleep with your teeth inside your mouth or out?
Ironic Echo: Miss Hannigan makes the orphan girls say "I love you, Miss Hannigan" all the time. Later, as she and Rooster are leaving the Warbucks mansion with Annie in tow, posing as her parents, the girls arrive at the door just in time to expose her true identity by shouting, "We love you, Miss Hannigan!"
Grace is played by a black actress (Audra McDonald) and her romance with Warbucks is left intact. He even proposes to her at the end! New York, unlike most of the United States, did not have any anti-miscegenation laws in the 1930s, so their marriage would be legally possible, but it would still be quite a scandal socially.
The orphans being a Five-Token Band is sometimes regarded as this, although this might be a case of Reality Is Unrealistic. While racially segregated orphanages were the norm in the 1930s, integrated orphanages did exist at the time and would obviously be more likely to exist in New York than in, say, Alabama.