It can't be debated that the musical Annie is a saccharine show. After all, many eardrums have been shattered since the show's 1977 debut as a thousand hammy little girls have belted out a thousand renditions of "Tomorrow" (a notable example is the one featured in You've Got Mail). But with Annie back on Broadway this season, critics and commenters are reminded how remarkably relevant the titular character's optimism is be in a nation and a city reeling from hardship. The New York of today, still reeling from Sandy, bears resemblances to Annie's Depression-era set piece and the 1977 New York when the musical first made its debut.
If you don't know the story of Annie—and if you don't, where have you been the last 35 years?— it goes like this. Annie lives in an orphanage overrun by spunky belters and run by the evil Miss Hannigan. She is taken into the care of Daddy Warbucks, whose name implies his financial status. She believes the "sun'll come out tomorrow." The show is overtly political. Annie meets some homeless people in a Hooverville. She gives F.D.R. some important inspiration. Back in October Michael Schulman of The New Yorker pondered how the characters might lean politically: "With all the campaign talk about Scranton, Janesville, unemployment, and income inequality, it’s tempting to imagine what the characters would make of the current candidates."