Monday, February 04, 2013

Best Tale of Plucky Orphans

Look at all that LES underwear hanging out to dry.

Saturday night, quite unexpectedly, I found myself gifted a ticket to see the 35th Anniversary revival of Annie on Broadway.  It was like a dream come true that I didn't know I had even been dreaming of.  Watching the show, I realized I knew Annie a lot better than I realized--meaning, I knew Annie the movie a lot better than I realized (I saw first saw it in the theater when it came out for my friend Elliot's birthday) so pretty regularly I was going "Wait, they changed that from the movie!" But some post-show wikipedia'ing taught me that it was the movie that changed things, not this musical, and that the 35th anniversary production was a faithful presentation of the story as it was known in 1977.

The "changes" that most irked me were the absence of Daddy Warbuck's helicopter car and his two bodyguards (Punjab and the Asp) and the anarchist attacks on Daddy Warbucks . . . you know, the stuff they added to the movie for the sake of young boys.  Most definitely this is a musical for little girls, and for people with little girls to bring to the show.  Those of us who are not little girls can still enjoy it quite nicely, but still, too bad you're not a little girl, you know what I mean?  Still, the musical is full of famous and familiar Broadway jams, and watching it live my guts got all stirred up and nostalgic over Tomorrow, You're Never Fully Dressed, and Maybe, to name a few.  All well presented in this presentation, although I though their version of the Ghetto Anthem lacked a certain swagger.

Here is something about New York that I learned watching Annie on Broadway: In it they go to the Roxy to see the movie.  I'd never heard of a Roxy movie theater.  Turns out it's a 6000 seat single-screen movie palace that used to be on 50th street between 6th and 7th avenue.  6000 seat!  The Ziegfeld, Manhattan's current largest single screen theater, seats about 1000 . . . and it's huger than huge inside.  My beloved Jersey Loews theater seats 3000, counting the balconies, which haven't been reopened to the public.  The Roxy didn't last past the 60's, there's a TGI Friday's now where the Roxy's lobby entrance used to be.  A second, "smaller" Roxy was opened on Broadway in the Upper West Side, now it's known as the Beacon Theater.  It only seats 3000.

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