By Rick Winterson
“Terrific” is a simple, a frequently overused, and almost a kind of slang word, but South Boston Online can’t think of a better term for the recent production of the musical “Annie” at the Boys & Girls Club. The young people – all Clubhouse members – had worked extremely hard to perfect their performances. Special credit is also due to the many, many Directors, Creative Team Members, and all of those behind the scenes.
The Club’s presentation of “Annie” was actually a Review (“Revue”?), meaning that the production featured the most dramatic and well-known excerpts from the original, full-length musical “Annie” – e.g., “Maybe” and “Tomorrow”. The Clubhouse production, consisting of 12 total numbers, was approximately an hour long (it flew by!). The performance area in the Clubhouse is called the “Brian Rafanelli Stage in the Lovett-Woodson Performing Arts Center”. It’s a very effective stage; the working set design was both versatile and eye-catching.
A word about musicals: “Musical Comedies” such as “Annie” are an American art form, descended from the operettas that were so popular in Europe and the early United States. Think of modern musical comedies as lighter versions – with dance sequences, of course – of works by Victor Herbert and Rudolph Friml in the late 1800s. Many of the most successful 20th Century musical comedies are set in mythical locales and/or contain a certain amount of farce. What could be better for these purposes than creating a musical from a popular comic strip? “Little Orphan Annie” was the most widely read comic strip in America for many years (yes, more popular than “Superman”) and featured some mythical/farcical characters like Oliver (Daddy) Warbucks. Isn’t “Warbucks” a memorable name for a comic strip character? Arf!