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Annie Education Guide December 2012

New York City, December 1933 The Country is in the middle of The Great Depression. What was The Great Depression? Much like our current economic crisis (The Great Repression) the economic crisis of The Great depression began with rising household debt. The boom of the Industrial Revolution had resulted in many exciting inventions that were accessible to every household in America (cars, household appliances.) Many households could not afford these items so they purchased them on credit. Debt ratio rose, however, income levels did not. This eventually became unsustainable and the stock market crashed. The stock market crashed On Black Tuesday, in October of 1929 leaving the country in a financial ruin that spread across the country and the rest of the world. The Great Depression resulted in one forth of the nation (15 million) being unemployed, businesses closed, there were runs on banks, and many people lost their houses.

President Herbert Hoover The Chrysler Building 

Built between 1929 and 1930

77 stories and 146 feet tall

When it was built it was the tallest building in the world

1920’s Art Deco style built out of brick and stainless steel

In “Annie” Ms. Hannigan tells the orphans they must scrub the floor until it “shines like the top of The Chrysler Building”

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Thirty-third president of the United States he served from1929-1933. President Hoover took office just months before the stock market crashed. Sadly, he greatly underestimated the impact of the stock market crash and the harsh economic realities of his time. He believed that the economic crisis would have no major impact and that the market would recover on its own. His lack of action was blamed for The Great Depressions devastating impact on the nation.

Hooverville As people lost their homes they built “shanty towns” or makeshift shelters out of discarded furniture, boxes, and other materials that they could find. These temporary tenements were known as Hoovervilles. In our story Annie visits a Hooverville when she leaves the orphanage. This is where she finds Sandy, a stray dog that she befriends. In our production the part of Sandy is played by a golden retriever who is owned by the actress playing Annie (Marissa Ramon.) The dog was actually named Sandy after the character in the play because Marissa loved the show so much. Now they are both in the show! Orphanages Orphanages were a place for homeless children. Though an orphan is a child whose parent’s have died not all children in orphanages were orphans. Some families who were especially hard hit by the economics of the time period would leave their children at orphanages until they could afford to care for the child again. In the musical “Annie” the title character believes with all her heart that her parents will one day return for her. Annie’s belief that she will some day be reunited with parents who love her inspires hope for the future.

Unfamiliar Lingo “Annie” is filled with vocabulary that is reminiscent of the time period in which it is set. Here is a list of words and phrases you might not recognize from the show: Leapin’ Lizards – Annie uses this phrase to mean WOW! Midas Touch – someone with good luck in money and wealth

Bunco – to swindle or cheat “gussie her up” – to get dressed up in nice clothing “the jig is up” – that someone figured out the truth like the modern phrase “ we’re busted” “takin’ a fall” – take the blame for something that someone else did gold-digger – someone who does something or creates a relationship with someone just to get money mush – a porridge made of cornmeal typically eaten by poor people

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Fun Fact: The dog playing Sandy in our show is actually named Sandy!

Important Historical Figures: John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) was the founder of Standard Oil Company, and was a billionaire and philanthropist, who revolutionized modern philanthropy.

77 stories and 146 feet tall

When it was built it was the tallest building in the world

1920’s Art Deco style

Built out of brick and Stainless Steel

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President Roosevelt served from 19331945 and is the only president to have ever served three times in office. He is featured prominently in the musical “Annie” as is The New Deal.

What was the world like back then? Cars were very popular! Many different types of cars were available and several are mentioned in the script of “Annie.” Mr. Warbucks mentions owning many cars and specifically lists the Bentley, and the Dussenburg in his collection.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) When Roosevelt was elected president on March 4, 1933, he inherited the worst economic depression the United States had ever experienced. With many people jobless, completely broke, and filled with uncertainty and despair, Roosevelt took matters into the hands of the federal government. The system was broken and he believed it was the government’s responsibility to provide solutions. President Roosevelt created a variety of agencies and offices that focused efforts on the many areas that needed assistance; together they were known as The New Deal. The basic goals were to provide states with federal grants which would be used to help citizens in need and give work to the thousands and thousands of unemployed Americans. The New Deal helped end The Great Depression.

The New Deal

What do you mean they didn’t have television?

Works Progress Administration (WPA) was created to provide work for skilled and unskilled laborers by creating special projects and jobs that needed to be accomplished. This included actors, musicians, and artists.

Radio Shows

Television had not been invented yet but radio programs were a national pastime. They offered an escape from the troubles of the world and a diversion from the monotony of daily life. Beginning 1930 the “Annie” was a

popular radio show.

-Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was formed for men to work on conservation programs. -National Industrial Recovery Act required cooperation in setting prices, minimum wages, and the ability to join unions within various industries. (It was later declared unconstitutional.)

-Agricultural Adjustment Act put into place restrictions on farming in order to lower the surplus of goods and, in turn, raise prices. (It, too, was later declared unconstitutional.) -Securities & Exchange Commission was established to regulate the Stock Market.

-Social Security (1935) provided insurance for the unemployed and pensions for the retired.

This Bentley is similar to one Mr. Warbucks would have owned. This Duesenburg is similar to one Mr. Warbucks would have owned.

Powered by Rackspace Did you know that the original Harold Gray comic featured a male orphan named Otto. Publishers urged Gray to change the orphan to a female character. Harold Gray was inspired by the poem “Little Orphant Annie” by James Whitcomb Riley. And changed the name to “Annie.” Below is one of the four stanzas of Riley’s poem.

So where did the story of “Annie” come from? The story for this musical is based on Harold Gray’s comic strip “Little Orphan Annie.”

View the rest of the poem at:

Little Orphant Annie by James Whitcomb Riley Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,

What do you mean they didn’t have television?

An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away, An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep, An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;

Radio Shows

An' all us other children, when the supper-things is done,

Television had not been invented yet but radio programs were a national pastime. They offered an escape from the troubles of the world and a diversion from the monotony of daily life. Beginning 1930 “Anne” was a popular radio show. To hear recordings of the original radio show please visit:

A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,

We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you Ef you Don't Watch Out!

“Annie” on goes to Broadway! On April 21st 1977 “Annie” made its Broadway debut. It played for 2,377 performances, making it the third longest-running musical of the 1970s. Critics loved the show. Clive Barnes of the New York Times wrote: ”To dislike the new musical Annie, which opened last night at the Alvin Theater, would be tantamount to disliking motherhood, peanut butter, friendly mongrel dogs, and nostalgia. It would also be unnecessary, for Annie is an intensely likable musical. You might even call it lovable; it seduced one, and should settle down to being a sizable hit.” The 1977 production won multiple Tony Awards:

“Annie” goes to Hollywood In May of 1982 this broadway hit inspired a successful film adaptation. The film featured a star filled cast including: Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, Ann Reinking, Tim Curry, Bernadette Peters, and Quinn as Annie. T

• • • • • • •

Best Musical Best Book of a Musical (Thomas Meehan), Best Score (Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin) Best Actress in a Musical (Dorothy Loudon as Miss Hannigan) Best Choreography Best Scenic Design Best Costume Design.

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“Annie” at The Playhouse

This production opens December 7th 2012 and closes December 23rd 2012.Tickets can be purchased via phone (210) 733-7258 or online at The cast, crew, and creative team that make this production possible are all local artists. They have been working on the production for weeks and we and to give you a peek backstage and find out what some of them have been up to!

The Creative Team

Staring Marissa Ramon as Annie and Sandy as her dog Sandy.

who are they and what do they do? The Director – Michelle Pietri The Director is responsible for the over all vision and direction of the show. I read script and began researching the history of this beautiful story. I was inspired by the wit and intellect of Harold Gray’s comic strip and these comic strips have heavily influenced my direction for the show. As a director I am responsible for overseeing all other members of the creative team and leading them in collaboration that results resembles what I have envision. I am responsible for final approval on everything from casting, to costumes and everything in between. This team has worked hard to bring my vision to life and we hope that you enjoy the product as much as we enjoyed the process.

The Music Director – Jane Haas What is a musical without the music? Being the Music Director for a show involves many aspects. I studied the music and the score, which prepared to

Practice makes perfect! Our cast has been rehearsing between 5 and seven days a week to perfect the show.

help choose the best voices from the actors that auditioned for our cast. This is usually done with the director and choreographer, and sometimes it takes quite a discussion to come to agreement for the best person for the role. Once the show was cast I taught the actors their music. This involved extensive rehearsal with soloists, small groups, and with the entire chorus. At the same time, I collaborated with the choreographer to make sure we have the correct amount of music for the dances. I also play the piano so I recorded rehearsal CD's for singers and the choreographer. The Music Director is also responsible for deciding the best instruments to make the orchestra sound full. I have chosen 10 musicians who will fill out the score. About two weeks before a show opens, the orchestra will begin to rehearse. There is usually one orchestra rehearsal, then one rehearsal where the cast sings their songs with the orchestra without all the staging. Then there is a series of dress rehearsals, leading to opening night!

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Sometimes we work hard and sometimes it feels like we are hardly working, but, we are always having a good time!

How do we recreate the time period? The Scenic designer is responsible for creating this illusion for the audience.

Compare the research photos on the left to the actual design on the right

This image inspired the “Hooverville” in our production.

Warbuck’s mansion is a stark contrast to the “Hooverville” shanties this visual image highlights the vast economic dived between Annie’s world and Daddy Warbuck’s world.

The Scenic Designer – Sara Miecielica As the Set Designer, it is my job to create the world of the play. I start my process by reading the script at least twice. With the first reading, I am trying is to get a feel for the mood of the show and I allow my imagination to run to wild. In the second reading, I do a more in depth analysis, taking notes regarding time period, location, mood, and anything that script specifically mentions or alludes to regarding the scenery and furniture. I will also begin research at this point. For Annie I researched many things including 1930's orphanages, New York Mansions, Hoovervilles, and 1930's tenement neighborhoods. I don't usually do much research into past productions, because I don't want to be overly influences by what others have done. After I read the script and started my research, I will met with the director to discuss her artistic vision for the production, as well as any specific needs of desires she may have. After that meeting, I researched anything new that may have come up in that meeting and begin sketching. My first sketches are small and rough. It is important to show what the set will look like without investing too much in these initial sketches, as there may need to be substantial changes. After the sketches have been approved, my process varies depending on the needs of the production and what is helpful to the rest of the production team. For Annie, I began building a white model and drafting the set via computer at the same time. This allowed the shop to see what they are building in 3 dimensional form, and it allows the director, choreographer, and actors to see a physical representation of the space that they have to work within. The drafting gives the shop all of the dimensions and details that they need to build the scenery. Once the drafting is done, I will do painters elevations, which will show the color and paint treatment that goes on all of the scenery. As the shop begins building I stay in touch with them to answer question and help deal with any issues that may arise. I also stay in touch with prop people to help make decisions regarding props and furniture. For some productions, as I have done with Annie, I will help with painting and props as necessary. I attend all tech rehearsals to help make sure everything is being used as it was intended, to address any issues that may come up, and to make sure that all of the visual elements have been executed as I envisioned them.


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What is it like to be a child actor? Ashlyn Roth (orphan) Being involved in The Playhouse has taught me many valuable lessons. It has taught me that The Playhouse productions are a whole lot of fun. I have learned when it is the right time to be funny and laugh hysterically versus when to be quiet, mature, and a good listener. It has taught me to be confident in myself and my decisions, but be open to others comments and criticism. And it has taught me that it takes a great effort of many talented and committed people to put on an outstanding production. Jacqui Davis (orphan) I am having a blast!!!!! We have so much fun at rehearsals and I am lucky that I got to meet so many neat people. Also, I am learning so very much and I love that I have the chance to do this with so many kind and caring people. I feel very blessed to be a part of a production like Annie.

Emily Nowotny (Kate) I also learned that you cannot turn your back to the audience if you are talking to someone. One more thing I learned was always to work as a team.

Marissa Ramon (Annie) The production of Annie taught me how to look deep within a character, and find how I can relate to them in my personal life. What the actual character "Annie" has taught me is that hard work and determination pays off. I will always remember to be optimistic about everything now matter the challenging it may be, and dreams really do come true.

Kaitlyn Dutton (Duffy) Being cast in the play “Annie� has been an incredible experience for me. I have learned so much about auditioning, theater and myself through this process. I am so thankful for this awesome opportunity!

The Playhouse would like to thank Rackspace for their generous support of the arts and the San Antonio community.

The Playhouse 800 West Ashby (Ashby at San Pedro Ave.) P.O. Box 12356 San Antonio, TX 78212 Playhouse Office: 210-733-7258 Fax: 210-734-2651 Box Office: 210-733-7258

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) addressed in this study guide: English Language Arts and Reading Grade 4: 110.15 (15, 16, 19, 24, 25, 26, 27) Grade 5: 110.16 (15, 16, 19, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27) Grade 6: 110.18 (14, 15, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26) Grade 7: 110.19 (15, 15, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26) Grade 8: 110.20 (14, 15, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26) Social Studies Grade 5: 113.16 (5, 24, 25) United States History since Reconstruction: 113.41 (2, 16, 19, 29, 30) Music Grade 4: 117.15 (6) Grade 5: 117.18 (6) Grade 6: 117.33 (6) Grade 7: 117.36 (6) Grade 8: 117.39 (6) Theatre Grade 4: 117.16 (5) Grade 5: 117.19 (5) Grade 6: 117.34 (5) Grade 7: 117.37 (5) Grade 8: 117.40 (5) References The Great Depression Franklin D. Roosevelt/The New Deal Harold Gray Fads of the 1930’s Radio Program The 1930’s Little Orphan Annie Radio Episode James Whitcomb Riley Historical Photos Library of Congress Flickr photostream – Public Domain

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The Playhouse SA Annie Field Guide  
The Playhouse SA Annie Field Guide