Sunny as Sandy with Issie Swickle in Annie.
Photos by Joan Marcus
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Her Name is Annie

By Sheryl Flatow

Annie, the red-headed orphan full of optimism and charm, has delighted audiences for nearly 100 years! Long before she was singing and dancing on Broadway or lighting up the silver screen, Little Orphan Annie appeared in another one of the nation's major institutions—the pages of the Daily News.

Created by cartoonist Harold Gray, the Little Orphan Annie comic strip first appeared in August of 1924. Capturing the political and economic spirit of the time, the strip and its leading lady swept the nation. Featuring the adventures of a young girl without any family to call her own, Annie connected to the American public at a time when people needed hope and an independent spirit. Influenced by the stock market crash, the Great Depression, and World War II, Gray used the comic strip to comment on the state of the country.

Annie video

According to Gray, Annie was inspired by meeting a young girl on the streets of Chicago while looking for cartoon ideas. "I talked to this little kid and liked her right away," Gray said. "She had common sense, knew how to take care of herself. She had to. Her name was Annie. At the time some 40 strips were using boys as the main characters; only three were using girls. I chose Annie for mine, and made her an orphan, so she'd have no family, no tangling alliances, but freedom to go where she pleased."

In 1930, Little Orphan Annie became one of the first comic strips adapted for radio. As one of the first radio shows to appeal to young people, the show ran for nearly 10 years and gained nearly six million listeners!

Annie has found her way to the movie screen several times, appearing for the first time in 1932 starting Mitzi Green. Perhaps the most well-known film version, an adaptation of the stage musical, premiered in 1982 and featured a star-studded cast that included Carol Burnett, Tim Curry, Bernadette Peters, Albert Finney, Ann Reinking and Aileen Quinn as Annie.

Annie became a Broadway musical in 1977. Adapted for the stage by Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin and Thomas Meehan, Annie's story came to life in song. Chronicling her journey from the orphanage to the home of Oliver Warbucks, the musical is perhaps the most lasting and beloved incarnation of this classic character. Now on stage again, the musical's message of resilience in the face of adversity, and "the sun will come out" idealism will inspire a new generation of audiences.


Dates: May 13 – 24, 2015
Tickets: $29 and up
For tickets and information, visit
or call (714) 556–2787.
Group services: (714) 755–0236

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With special underwriting from:
S.L. and Betty Huang/Huang Family Foundation

Media Partner:
Time Warner Media



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