17 July 2009
Watch LIFE AFTER TOMORROW
Among the litany of recent theater-related documentaries is a gem called LIFE AFTER TOMORROW. The subject: former Annies (and other orphans) from the original Broadway production and associated tours. Though they do not interview Ms. McArdle, Sarah Jessica Parker (along with many others you haven't heard of) give extensive interviews detailing the highs of the ANNIE experience and the lows of coming down. I was not really aware of the extent to which ANNIE was a national phenomenon (I can't think of anything even remotley equivilant today), and the idea that this kind of insane over exposure (even for later-in-the-run Annies) fell upon 10 year old girls, I'm surprised they didn't all become drug addicts. Perhaps they did. Of course, ANNIE is a show you love to hate and hate to love, and the idea that the 2nd squeaky-cleanest show of all time (falling behind SOUND OF MUSIC) has a dark side is inherintly alluring. I hadn't yet realized how powerful an insitution ANNIE had been, to create an entire culture and workforce that was an island into itself, requireing girls with no other opportunities available for them. Now with shows like 13 and SPRING AWAKENING there's a bit of an intermediary step between ANNIE and waiting for adulthood to begin, but for the most part these ANNIE alumns had no choice but to return to normal life. Other shows simply did not exist--certainly not in numbers large enough to employ the number of girls kicked off the ANNIE bus. The movie is quite effective and entertaining and ideal for lazy mornings while you wait for the Excedrin to do its magic.
You can watch the movie for free online (with some annoying commercial interruptions) here, or you can probably catch it on Ovations, rent it, or find it elsewhere on the interwebs.