Going in Deep Cover Behind the Scenes at the Annie Revival
By: Ellis Nassour
There’s nothing like live theater, but do you know what all goes into bringing it alive and putting it onstage. Tomorrow night at 9 P.M., you’ll get a good look at the collaborative work that especially goes into musicals with the PBS documentary Annie: It’s the Hard-Knock Life, from Script to Stage, which takes viewers behind-the-scenes for a deep cover look at what it took to mount the current hit Broadway revival.
The curtain rises, but you are backstage behind the curtain! Sounds a little cloak and daggerly? Well, it’s a rare opt to see what it takes to put on a major Broadway production.
You are there, at the table with Tony-winning director James Lapine and creators composers Charles Strouse and Martin Charin and Thomas Meehan, who adapted the famed comic strip to the stage. You are in on discussions among the designers Tony – winning costume designer Susan Hilferty (Wicked, Spring Awakening) and scenic master David Korins as his unique set evolves [watch how he moves the show though the unfolding pages of a book. You’re present as casting proceeds and as Tony winner Andy Blankenbuehler’s choreography takes shape.
Casting took place cross country. You’ll see the discovery of pint-sized Emily Rosenfeld, who plays orphan Molly, as she leaps with infectious enthusiasm, possessing incredible singing and dancing chops for a nine-year-old.
In addition to interviews with the creative team and stars, the documentary crew follows the development of a single production number, the rousing and energetic "It’s the Hard-Knock Life," defiantly belted out by the orphans at the top of the show.
A fun fan site the whole family might enjoy is the quite comprehensive accompanying website, www.pbs.org/annie, which features quizzes, historical games, audio presentations, and video interviews with the Broadway production team.
ANNIE: It’s the Hard-Knock Life, From Script to Stage
Embeddable clips on PBS YouTube site:
Musical rehearsal for ANNIE on Broadway:
Dancing to The Hard-Knock Life, ANNIE on Broadway:
Writing ANNIE the Musical in 1970s: