Galway Shines On “Annie”
Reviewer: Richard DiMaggio
“The sun’ll come out, tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar, that tomorrow
There’ll be sun!
With those words, Galway Central School brought to life and light its season finale of Annie that brought the audience to a standing ovation. And it is no wonder: This was a cast of middle and high school students bringing together a collective talent of song and dance that turned a rainy Sunday afternoon into a bright and sunny week all over. You will be humming “Tomorrow”, in the shower, in the car, and over the dinner table.
“Just thinking about, tomorrow
Clears away the cobwebs, and the sorrow
’Til there’s none!
The world is at the height of the Great Depression, circa 1933, and is not a happy place. The stock market crashed and almost one of every three Americans lost their job. Banks closed, savings were lost, and the great dust bowl settled in to drive a stake through the heart and soul with hunger.
Many people simply could not afford to support families, and for one reason or another, Little Annie found herself in an orphanage in the heart of New York City. After years of having no family, this little girl long ago resigned herself to the fate life spelled out for her: We see it in her eyes, in her smile, and hear it in her voice. You feel sorry for her and her friends, and take little solace in the fact that they don’t feel sorry for themselves.
Annie happens to get adopted—by “not a millionaire, but a billionaire.” The dichotomy of the world’s poorest and the world’s richest suddenly becomes apparent:
“Where do you want to start?”
“With the floors.”
His name is Warbucks, and he owns everything, from politicians to fine art. We think he has it all, but in reality, there’s lots in life money simply cannot buy, and we learn quickly Warbucks is not as rich as his bank book tells us. He has money, but that’s it. Family and love remained as elusive to Warbucks as fortune did to Annie.
Warbucks forgot Rule 1: The Best Things in Life are Free. He needed to learn this from Annie, the orphan with the little sidekick Retriever she named Sandy.
For all Warbucks has, Annie has more.
“When I’m stuck in a day
That’s gray and lonely
I just stick out my chin And grin and say
There is a potent lesson to be learned here, and as we know, for many in America today, 1933 is not far away. But the best things in life really are free and cannot be bought. Not with hundreds. Not with thousands. Not with millions. And so we have with Annie, a little girl and her orphaned dog teaching Warbucks what life really is all about: It’s about life, it’s about love, it’s about family, it’s about truism.
“The sun’ll come out, tomorrow
So you gotta hang on ’til tomorrow
Come what may Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love ya, tomorrow You’re always a day away”
This was a difficult play to perform. It is long on song and lines, and this was rehearsed day in and day out–after school, homework, chores and tests. Galway did a stupendous job, and as some of the seniors move on and perhaps continue with their careers, keep an eye out for them in future years. Annie herself was the quintessential Annie, from the dimples to the laughter to the tears. She filled the audience with sunshine.
The performance was outstanding.
Annie, based on Little Orphan Annie, Harold Gray
Book by Tom Meehan
Lyrics by Martin Charnin,
Music by Charles Strouse