Tuesday, March 19, 2013


All the Songs Featured on the Soundtrack of the 1982 Film Adaptation of "Annie," Discussed

1. Tomorrow (Aileen Quinn & the Orphans)

"Tomorrow," contrary to our collective cultural memory of "Annie" (should such a thing truly exist), is only serviceable. It's okay. It's perky. But it happens a couple of times, and the regular version is not as good as the version sung in the White House scene (we'll get there.) But, then, it's a message song, and message songs always pale a little in comparison to complaining songs, or dueling songs, or songs of celebration, all of which form the bedrock of "Annie." Of course, "Tomorrow" does introduce us to the tiny, adorable orphan, Molly. That actress is now a substitute teacher in New Jersey, and named her daughter "Molly." Isn't that great? Aileen Quinn is spectacular. She really is. What the role requires, apart from song-and-dance chops, you see, is the ability to constantly display varying degrees of EXCITEMENT. And Quinn nails it every time. It's like how Daniel Radcliffe was in nineteen Harry Potter movies and was a famous wizard, but still had to go "wow, your sink WASHES ITS OWN DISHES" with that air of awe each time. Quinn is always excited. Or sad, but then excited again. Now, before we get to the other songs, let's briefly mention that although modern medicine has cut down on the number of plucky singing and dancing New York City orphans, there are still thousands of children waiting glumly to age out of foster care. If you'd like to give one a good home and some voice and/or tap lessons, please visit AdoptUSKids.org. But not while listening to the next song, because you'll never, ever, ever get over it.

2. Maybe (Aileen Quinn)

THIS, right? Oh, God. Do you remember it? "Betcha he reads / betcha she sews..." It's pretty gender essentialist, but since we can date this movie to 1936 based on the fact "Camille" was in theaters, that's forgiveable. Anyway, it's a real tearjerker. "Come get your baaaabyyyyy," shit. Oh, man. Orphans! In their little gunny-sack outfits. Not to mention, as Mallory Ortberg stated when watching the film for the first time, how is it that Miss Hannigan sleeps through the pillow fight but is awakened by the soft ballad? But they do wake up Miss Hannigan (oh, and on adult rewatch, Carol Burnett carries this film; she commits 100%) and Miss Hannigan is a monster, which spawns...

3. It's the Hard-Knock Life (Aileen Quinn, Toni Ann Gisondi & Chorus)

Like many classic ensemble numbers, this one is very hazy on chorus size. Is Miss Hannigan in charge of ten orphans, or a thousand? Are they 100% white in an attempt to preserve historical segregated orphanage accuracy, or because white orphans are more sympathetic? Charmingly, "Hard-Knock Life" is a constant battle between the filmmakers and the young children to arrive at the correct tone. "You are orphans! You are being mistreated in an abusive orphanage by a horrible drunkard who acts out sexually!" goes toe-to-toe with "omigodddd I am seven and in a MOVIE! I am sliding around on bannisters and hitting other little girls with mops and I want to smile so badly I could burst! I don't have to go to a real school!" and the latter generally wins. So many shots of children beaming their faces off, glancing off-camera, and dialing back in to sobriety. Kudos, too, to the tumbling prowess of these kids, who have the footwork of career vaudevillians. Bless them, everyone. The best part of "Hard-Knock Life," and many of the opening scenes, however, is the "tough" one, Pepper. Pepper has it together. Pepper's grown up too fast. The minute Pepper gets outta here, she's gonna be fine. Pepper is a survivor. She's not wisping around thinking about her dead parents. She's thinking about the cons, both short and long, she'll be pulling on the outside. Don't waste any tears on Pepper.

4. Dumb Dog (Aileen Quinn)

This is barely a song. This is "upbeat walking away" music. This is an act break. Not to mention, way to play hard to get, Annie. Am I supposed to believe you don't want an adorable dog following you around? What tiny child has enough self-awareness to say "oh, well, I'm a street rat and wouldn't be able to afford to get you groomed on a regular basis, so please take your charm elsewhere?" No child. No child would do that. But "Dumb Dog" does provide the hook to set us up for...

5. Sandy (Aileen Quinn & the Orphans)

"Sandy" is a GREAT song. Despite being stupid. Who gives a shit what you call the dog? Your time would be better spent coming up with a better dog-disguise than tossing a sheet over him. The best part of "Sandy," right, is the little blonde orphan with real singing abilities busting out: "ROOOOOOOOOVERRRRR, WHY NOT THINK IT OOOOOOOVEERRRRRR?" in this "fuck you, I had eighteen callbacks for Aileen's role, and I have an amazing voice" threadjack of a moment, and then the other orphans are so entranced by her talent they pile on and agree with her name choice (which is stupid), until Annie shuts them down.

6. I Think I'm Gonna Like it Here (Aileen Quinn & Ann Reinking)

Definitely in the top five. Maybe the best "dancing servants" scene of our, or any age. This was where I started to wear through my VHS tape. Now, of course, I am thirty years old and can just hit the back arrow grandly while sipping a cocktail. "When you wake, ring for Drake / Drake will bring your tray!" "When you're through, Mrs. Pugh / Comes to take / It away!" Hell, yeah. It's all about the money, money... Happy servants. That's all I wanted. Happy servants who had waited so long to have a little girl to wait on hand and foot. And then you grow up, and if you have a cleaning lady every two weeks, you pre-clean so she won't judge you. "Annie" lied. The other salient point about "I Think I'm Gonna Like it Here" is the continuing triumph of stairs-based choreography. 90% of the dancing in "Annie" involves going up and down stairs. It's a good way to show off the size of your ensemble.

7. Little Girls (Carol Burnett)

Carol. Burnett. Carol. Burnett. Breathtaking! I did not appreciate, as a child, the extent to which Carol Burnett approached this role without a thought for trying to be sexy. She's covered in hideous makeup, she's wearing these awful teddies, she's gloriously falling in and out of bathtubs filled with gin, she's contorting her face like putty, and she OWNS it. I felt bad for Miss Hannigan, after this song. Yeah, she doesn't like kids, so what? She's sort-of feeding them, isn't she? Yeah, she knocks them around, but they also step on her toes and drop dead rats down her blouse, so maybe there are two sides to every story, you know?

8. Let's Go to the Movies (Aileen Quinn, Ann Reinking, Albert Finney & Chorus)

Oh, sweet Ann Reinking. She's so weird in this song. Her dance moves are bizarre. Remember when she scoots forward while sitting on an ottoman like a dog on the carpet, which resting her face alternately on each wrist? But, despite that, and her fake "COPS and robbbers" shooting-finger-gestures, one is indeed swept away by the glory of the cinema. Which is good, because you have to sit through, like, four solid minutes of "Camille," so it's important for you to still be humming the chorus as you go into it. This is also our first introduction to Finney's non-existent singing voice (no, he is fabulous in this, though, shut up), so the fact he gets a credit on the soundtrack for literally shouting "turn the kitchen light off!" is remarkable.

9. We Got Annie (Ann Reinking, Lu Leonard, Geoffrey Holder & Roger Minami)

This is very racist. We can't even talk about the Asp, so let's just say that Geoffrey Holder, who sings only the title line, once, is completely wonderful, has had a storied, award-winning career in the theater, and there is every chance he warmly remembers playing Punjab. Ann Reinking also gets to dance some more. Moving on!

10. Sign (Carol Burnett & Albert Finney)

BEST SONG BEST SONG BEST SONG BEST SONG. Finney, again, cannot really sing, so he does the Rex Harrison school of just yelling words in the correct cadence, and it works out perfectly well. Women do not get to do that, incidentally. Only male actors are allowed to shout-sing. This is the duet in which Miss Hannigan is trying desperately to seduce Daddy Warbucks, and Daddy Warbucks is blackmailing her into formalizing his adoption of Annie. Which apparently, at the time, just required a drunk signature from a government functionary in her underwear. This is where I admit that this scene informed my entire school of knowledge on how to seduce men for at least a decade. Even though it doesn't work for her. I just honestly thought that you would wear very little and offer to make dry martinis and fling yourself at their chests and then they would be putty in your hands. Which, I mean, is still sort of true, but minus the "I make a very...wet...souffle" part.

11. You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile (Peter Marshall, Chorus and Orphans)

So, apparently the radio guy in this song was the original host of "Hollywood Squares," which is why he gets special billing in the credits, it's not just that he's a lot of fun. This is some catchy shit. To this day, I see some mention of Beau Brummel, and I'm lost in a world of "....they stand out a MILE, but brother, you're never fully dressed without a smillllllle" and spelling out toothpaste brands.

12. Tomorrow (White House Version) (Aileen Quinn, Albert Finney, Lois deBanzie & Edward Herrmann)

A drastically better version of "Tomorrow," largely through the inclusion of Richard Gilmore, Rory's grandpa, as FDR, a role he has played many, many times. It's not that he can sing, particularly, but he yells "sing, Oliver! That's an order, from your Commander in Chief!" and then Finney muddles through a few bars. This is also the only remaining reference to the original Broadway musical's political content. That they go to the White House and briefly sing a song about things getting better. I'm not sorry, really, because the blah blah New Deal blah blah Hoover stuff is not really super interesting, but it's worth mentioning that the original show was trying to make some kind of statement about poverty and noblesse oblige. As opposed to just, hey, this one kid has a lot of bathrooms now, so things are great.

13. Easy Street (Carol Burnett, Tim Curry & Bernadette Peters)

And then we have Tim Curry. Tim Curry never sounds like a convincing American, but who would care? He's a delight. This song, you may remember, opens with him saying "G—-g—-g—geeeeeeaaaaassssy street," and you think he's having a seizure, but in the movie, he's opening the envelope with the dead parents' half of Annie's locket and just milking the moment. And then they dance up and down stairs, and Bernadette is a better dancer, so she gets more interesting things to do, and there's an eeensy bit of sexual tension between Miss Hannigan and her brother, but just a touch. Just to keep it interesting.

14. Maybe (Reprise) (Aileen Quinn & Albert Finney)

This is the same song that Fievel sings when he thinks about his family, and the same song Big Bird sings when he thinks about his friends. It's sad. But don't worry!

15. Finale/I Don't Need Anything But You/We Got Annie/Tomorrow (Aileen Quinn, Albert Finney, Chorus and the Orphans)

Glorious reunion. Fireworks. Names spelled out in lights. Inexplicable circus. Stair dancing. Miss Hannigan has a happy ending. Shout-singing. I love YOU, Daddy Warbucks. "Tomorrow" swells, hearts burst. All is well.

129 Comments / Post A Comment


I owned this album as a child and danced until it was so badly scratched that my mother forced me to throw it out. I cannot even begin to describe the fear Carol Burnett's "Little Girls" struck in my heart. No one will do it better. I can't believe how much I loved this album considering I grew up to be a big-time hater of musicals.

My least favorite song on this album is easily "Tomorrow": so corny, so overwrought. It's the Les Miz of the whole record. "Maybe" reminds me a little of "Part of Your World" but it was never ruined by millenials performing it at every single karaoke outing (enough already!).


@parallel-lines Also, "This is very racist. We can't even talk about the Asp." BUT CAN WE TALK ABOUT ASP AND PUNJAB BECAUSE: HOLY SHIT!

Nicole Cliffe

@parallel-lines Oh, the music. Oh, the Orientalism.


@Nicole Cliffe It didn't even register to me until I was much, much older that hey: that was kinda fucked up.

Also, like - WTF happened to Aileen Quinn's career? It died after this movie.

Nicole Cliffe



@Nicole Cliffe Okay, that's just awesome.


@parallel-lines Until I found a DVD copy of this movie four years ago, I really thought my weirdo child mind had completely imagined Punjab. Because WHAT?

sarah girl

@parallel-lines I was always irrationally annoyed by the parts where Punjab was like, floating things in the air, because this was a musical about REAL LIFE! Gritty orphans singing while they clean and an entire staff of dancing servants! Floating objects have NO PLACE here.

I like to think that was little-girl me realizing how racist and ridiculous his role was, but I may be giving myself too much credit. :\

Anita Ham Sandwich

@parallel-lines As a redhead, I liked to think I had a special bond with this movie. I went as Annie for Halloween a couple years ago and carried a giant stuffed dog around with me. More people guessed I was Joan from Mad Men than Annie, though, which means I might not have chosen the right red dress?


@Nicole Cliffe NICOLE, THANK YOU! THIS RECORD AND VHS TAPE WAS MY LIFE!! Like parallel-lines, I wore the shit out of them and sang/danced along and knew every damn word and gesture.

ALSO! When I was in 6th grade, they kicked all the boys out of the room and put on a film about puberty and what would happen to our bodies soon and it starred the Broadway cast of Annie and a teenage Aileen Quinn! I was SCARRED, Nicole...scarred. I apologize for the profusion of caps, but Annie brings out ALL the feels.


@SuperGogo OH MY GOD THAT MOVIE. Where they freeze-frame an NYC street scene and draw little uterus outlines on all the women! The 80s were all about telling kids to say no to drugs and then showing us things that were made by the people who had said yes yes a thousand times yes to drugs.


@Piefingers@twitter It's so good! I just rewatched it a couple weeks ago and was yet again a bit embarrassed to be watching middle aged women trying to recapture something from their youth by reenacting Hard Knock Life. But yeah, it's awesome.


@DandelionTacy This whole thing is fantastic and nostalgic. And my only contribution to this thread is that when I went to see Annie in the early '90s, I sat next to Tony Danza, a fact I apparently still gleefully repeat to strangers.


they're pretty good.@k


WHY is Annie not available to stream anywhere?


@Blushingflwr here you go: http://grooveshark.com/#!/search?q=annie+soundtrack


@becky@twitter Thank you. I should clarify that I want to watch the movie again, not just listen to the music.


@Blushingflwr whoops. well, this youtube user has it uploaded in parts (except part 1, which was taken down): http://www.youtube.com/user/JutubJuzer


Last summer my daughter went to drama camp, and at the end of every week they had a little mini-performance with different songs/dances/dramatic scenes that all the kids had been working on that week.

At one point, my daughter walked out, completely self-possessed, sang "Maybe" straight through, bowed, and walked off. I was bawling so hard I could hardly see. "Oh, God," indeed.


@Bittersweet Also, Geoffrey Holder is awesome in everything, despite all the eye-rolling he must have done about how racist and stereotypical all his roles were.

Lily Rowan

@Bittersweet Wow! I mean, your daughter sounds amazing, is what I was getting at with that, but needed a minute to not tear up about it myself.


@Bittersweet I am tearing up just thinking about it. My daughter will be doing music theater camp again this summer (at the ripe old age of 6) and they are doing Annie. I was Pepper as a 13 year old. Life comes full circle! ANNIE FOREVER!


@heyladies I know, I can hardly think about without getting misty. Bring the Kleenex!

This summer my daughter is doing West Side Story, so I'll get ready to bawl over "One Hand, One Heart" and "Somewhere."

Lily Rowan

@Bittersweet OMG "Somewhere." sniff.


maybe can make me cry instantly. i listened to that on repeat after a summer camp production where i was cast as a 'singing and dancing orphan.'

i have some kind of nostalgia gland that makes me cry whenever i listen to things i used to listen to when i was younger (aside from technotronic and ace of base).

i still listen to the annie soundtrack sometimes, except i skip maybe, so i don't appear to be the insane woman with smudged mascara who cries on the orange line.

also, someone needs to write a version of annie from miss hannigan's perspective. that lady had it rough.

Lily Rowan

@becky@twitter BECKY@TWITTER! As I live and breathe!

"Maybe" makes me cry just thinking about it, for sure.


@Lily Rowan i'm aliveeeeee! just making my semi-annual visit to the hairpin. i needed a distraction from work today. ;)

tea tray in the sky.

@becky@twitter I have the same nostalgia gland. I can get through MAYBE 20 seconds of any song America did in The Last Unicorn and I'm dead.


Who else loves the late-90s remake? Victor Garber! Kathy Bates! Audra freakin' McDonald! And Alan Cumming and Kristen Chenoweth as Rooster and Lily!


@anachronistique I do love that version, but it's slightly inferior, due entirely to the lack of Carol Burnett. (Although Kathy Bates is no slouch.)


I secretly love it. Nicole, can you do a follow up compare and contrast? and then see the Broadway remount and compare the stage version to the upcoming version with Quvenzhané Wallis?


@chnellociraptor It's TRUE. But there's no Punjab in the '99 version! Can't we just transplant Carol Burnett into the new one and call it even?


@anachronistique I love that NYC is in that version. I love the actress fresh off the bus who sings, "NYC, just got here this morning / Three bucks / Two bags / One me / NYC, I give you fair warning / Up there / In lights / I'll be!"

Also, there's a documentary called Life After Tomorrow that features a bunch of women who were in the Broadway cast in the '80s, including Sarah Jessica Parker, and every single one of those women can still do the "You're Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile" choreography.


@anachronistique I would like a mix of the two, pls, because Carol Burnett is the best drunk actor since Fred Astaire in Holiday Inn BUT. Alan Cumming JEE-HOSAPHAT. *fans self*

@fatgirlinohio "Say! Where does a young prostitute get started in this town?"

Theda Baranowski

@anachronistique I love anything with Victor Garber. Anything. Everything. Including Titanic (but only the parts with Victor Garber).

The Hyperbolic Julia Set

@fatgirlinohio My older sister was in Annie when I was in 2nd grade and she was in 5th grade and she was the girl that did the "Three bucks, Two bags, one meeeeeeee!" That was the only time any of us were in a play so us younger sisters were completely in awe. I mean she got to wear MAKE-UP. It was pretty legit.


Re: the catchiness of "Never Fully Dressed," I played one of the "lovely Boylan sisters" in a youth production of Annie, and I STILL walk around singing my part in the Oxydent jingle, like, six days of the week.

(I also played Harold J. Ickes, FDR's most persnickety orphan-and-optimism-hating cabinet member, and I got to swear. TWICE. It was the best. Ah, to be 13 again.)

oh! valencia

@chnellociraptor Ah-HA! The Lovely Boylan Sisters!


@oh! valencia Doot-doodle-oot-doot!

Anna Jayne@twitter

@chnellociraptor I was also a Boylan sister! And Mrs. Pugh. When I was 19.


Oh man, the little girl who sings "ROOOOOVER" is the best. Show-stopping couple of seconds right there.


@lisma She is Amanda Peterson, who also got to rock the riding lawn mower with a young Patrick Dempsey in "Can't Buy Me Love".

Patrices Pieces

@dreeski No Way! That's so cool

fondue with cheddar

I know I saw this when I was really little but I don't remember it. And I've never had the desire to see it again.



@fondue with cheddar I have never ever seen it, and I have to say, the part of Nicole's review that actually sold me on the idea of Netflixing a thirty year old musical is a seduction scene with the line "I make a very...wet...souffle" as part of a movie about orphans?????

fondue with cheddar

@PatatasBravas Haha, right? And the line is delivered by Carol Burnett, which makes it even better.

Nicole Cliffe

@fondue with cheddar "Don't be so mean, you mean ol' meanie. Why don't you and me make, why shouldn't we make hayyyyyyyyy."

fondue with cheddar

@Nicole Cliffe AAHH I can hear it now! YOU HAVE CONVERTED ME


@Nicole Cliffe "You ever been to Buenos Aires*? / I hunger for the Argentines."

* pronounced, if I recall correctly, bonus aeries.


@PatatasBravas I also have not seen it, and I am so confused and intrigued.


@PatatasBravas I gotcha numbah, ya like to rhumbah...Carol Burnette is EVERYTHING. I repeat, EVERYTHING. And I sing Little Girls to my nieces. I'm that kind of aunt.


@fondue with cheddar actually it's pronounced "bone-us aeries".


@fondue with cheddar I'll call ya Ollie, my hot tamale!

sarah girl


I used to sit on the edge of our fireplace and pretend it was a windowsill, singing "Maybe" at full volume. Like, multiple times a day. I also made me mom put little foam rollers in my hair so I could have awesome curls like Annie! Subsequently, there are a few photos of me from elementary school that are kind of frightening.

sarah girl

@sarah girl Pretty sure I'm going to watch this tonight when I get home from work. And cry.


When my mom forced me to clean my room or mop I'd yell "We love you Ms. Hannigan!" at her. She was not amused.


@parallel-lines That is AMAZING.


@parallel-lines But did you make it shine like the top of the Chrysler building?


I'm sure my dad rued the day he made me a cassette tape of these songs from our pirated VHS copy of Annie- for about two straight years my three girl cousins and I would subject our parents to elaborate performances of many of these songs during family functions. They'd be sipping drinks in lawn chairs on the deck, trying to ignore us as we belted out "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile" (our hands-down favorite) complete with clumsy tap-dance routine.

Ahhhhh, all the memories!!!


@DedeMented Ha, my parents actually bought me the soundtrack on cassette tape when I was four, and I am SURE they regretted it....I listened to it so much that both of my parents still know every word to all these songs, and it is now 30 years later!

Lily Rowan

I was totally obsessed with the show when I was little, so definitely rejected the movie, and have never regretted it! No Hooverville??

Here is how you know I have always been practical: My dream was to play Pepper, because I knew I wasn't cute enough to be any of the other named orphans. (And I was little, so clearly wasn't playing a grownup.)


@Lily Rowan Hooverville really holds the stage production together. And it's the most fun to sing.

Lily Rowan

@chnellociraptor WAIT. Just scrolling to get to this comment revealed that the movie doesn't have NYC either? THAT's the best song in the show! (Except for all the other best songs.) Definitely the song I sing the most in real life.


@Lily Rowan we'd like to thank you herbert hoover! i love to scream-sing, "who knew I could steallllllllllllllllllllll?"

Pseudo Pseudonym

@Lily Rowan Definitely my favorite two songs from Annie. I loved Hooverville -- though perhaps this was related to being from a family of FDR democrats? In my mind FDR and Jesus are still best buds.


Fun fact: The little blonde orphan who sings "ROOOOOOOVER" is Amanda Peterson, of Can't Buy Me Love fame!

Signed, the girl who bought glasses from the Annie line in second grade (the color: Punjab Pink, which really makes no sense)


@janbrady You just broke my brain!!!!!!


@janbrady agh! I did not see yours before I posted above. How about this... the pregnant girl from "Summer School" (Kirstie Alley, Mark Harmon)is also an orphan, and so is Martika.

Arlene Ivana@twitter

Everything about this is everything. Plus I just got a dog and have been singing the various parts of "Sandy" (out of order) to her and she loves it/has no idea what's going on.


Do you mean that women shouldn't shout-sing, or just don't get away with it in this world? Because I have always felt like Sarah Jessica Parker was shout-singing in Once Upon a Mattress.

The Dilettantista

@PrettyNicola I'M SHYYYYYYYYY.


Any mentions of "Beau Brummel" brings me to Gypsy and "All I Need is the Girl." I never really watched Annie growing up, so it totally grates on my nerves. Sorry everyone in this comment section!


@meetapossum I also never watched Annie as a child, and mostly remember the Jay Z version of Hard Knock Life.

Okay, Gypsy, though! There are actually a ton of really weird songs in that show/movie, but Gotta Get a Gimmick is basically life-changing.


@meetapossum - Any mention of "Beau Brummel" makes me think of Billy Joel's "It's Still Rock & Roll To Me" because I really love Billy Joel.

*When I was a kid, I though this line was 'you could really be a Blues Brother, baby, if you just gave it have a chance' - mostly because I really wanted to be a Blues Brother.


@leon s When I was first singing along to Gypsy it was "said I'm gonna be-bop ba rommel." I just assumed it was some weird 20s slang.

@Tinpantithesis I was definitely probably too young running around my house and "Unh unh unh"-ing.


@Tinpantithesis I got in a fight with a dude in high school because he refused to believe that Jay-Z had sampled from a Broadway musical for that song.


@anachronistique Oh man, I somehow got into a non-zero number of arguments about the use of Broadway music in high school. And now Jay Z has produced a Broadway musical! It is Fela and it is amazing!

@meetapossum For real, that was like ...maybe a third of my childhood. But also, Little Lamb? The hell is that song.


TRUFAX: I have "Sign," "Little Girls," and/or "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile" stuck in my head for about 40% of my waking life. THOSE SONGS. THOSE SONNGGGGSSSSSSSSS


Also, when I finally, at some point in my teen years, learned who Beau Brummel was, I think I had "You're Never Fully Dressed" stuck in my head continually for most of a decade. NOT THAT I AM COMPLAINING.

sarah girl

@par_parenthese I used to live a few blocks away from Brummel Lane - that song was in my head every. day.


@par_parenthese I only found out who Beau Brummel was, like, this year.
That guy had bangin' style and I kind of dig the cravat?


Carol Burnett forever.


@HeyThatsMyBike "Once Upon A Mattress" forever!!


@HeyThatsMyBike I love Carol Burnett in everything she's ever done, but my favorite performance of hers is the 1990 concert performance of Follies. She belts out a classic version of "I'm Still Here" in front of God and Elaine Stritch and Barbara Cook and George Herne and Mandy Patinkin and everybody. (Go watch it right now!)

fata morgana

Aileen Quinn is the daughter of my middle school drama club teacher. She used to come and direct all our (very very dinky) school plays and musicals and we all though it was a huge deal. She was really sweet and friendly, but also possibly milked the image of herself as a big time movie star? I guess having 20 awkward Catholic children be completely starstruck around you can be kind of seductive.

fata morgana

@fata morgana She would also sometimes scold us for talking or not paying attention by saying we'd never make it on Broadway.

lucy snowe

Re ladies who sing like Rex Harrison--
I should listen to this again, but I'm thinking "Sister Suffragette" in "Mary Poppins" is shout-sung. At least part of it...

@lucy snowe This is why it is the best feminist drinking song I have ever encountered.

The Dilettantista

@lucy snowe Glynis Johns, definitely sort of a speak singer! Just listen to "Send in the Clowns" and also "The Glamorous Life," both from A Little Night Music.


@lucy snowe Gloria Grahame as Ado Annie in "Oklahoma." It's kind of whine-singing. "I caaaaaaint sayyyyy no."


@The Dilettantista A Little Night Music is maybe my favorite musical ever, and I love how Glynis Johns speak-sings all her songs. I think it drives home the point that Desiree is maybe not the most, um, talented actress in the world?

lucy snowe

@The Dilettantista Someone was talking about 90s Bill Pullman the other day (cinnamon roll? lemon square? hmmm...), and "While You Were Sleeping" came up.

Wasn't Glynis Johns just adorable in that? What a great ensemble cast in that movie. So much fun.

The Dilettantista

@lucy snowe Glynis Johns is THE BEST in all the things that she does.

The Dilettantista

@Bittersweet Yessss that. I saw the Night Music revival a few years ago, Catherine Zeta-Jones was all wrong but Angela Lansbury was all right (more like ALL PERFECT) so it all worked out, even when Angela Lansbury forgot/repeated a line in "Liaisons," it was adorable.


I watched this version of Annie so many times at my babysitters.
Also; in high school i was in a production of Annie and cast as the Hooverville apple seller, however I misread the cast list and at the first script reading introduced my character as Apell, the unknown possibly french person?

Never lived it down, and they changed my character name to Apell the Apple Seller on the program.

Anna Jayne@twitter

@cminor hahahaha this is so charming.


Quick correction: ladies are (apparently) not allowed to shout-sing unless they are Elaine Stritch.

The Dilettantista

@vermilionink@twitter Remember that time in the Company original Broadway cast recording, in the opening number, when she is SO off key and everyone is singing one note except for her and you can tell it is her and it is really awkward?

lucy snowe

@The Dilettantista

(well, at that point it sort of works, though! )


I was walking to the bus this morning thinking about Carol Burnett singing "Little Girls" and I have no idea why and I haven't seen Annie in years but then I come home to this and it's weird how these things happen. (I think it was something about the "Some women are dripping with diamonds, some women are dripping with pearls, lucky me look at what I'm dripping with, little girls" part, because, you know, things were dripping outside! And so was my nose.)

I have been itching to watch the movie again for a few months now. It keeps coming up. I should probably just get on that.


My mom took me to see Annie in the theaters (IN THE THEATERS, like a big girl) and I was enraptured right up to the point where Punjab (oy) takes off his turban to rescue Annie on the bridge. At that point I flipped out, because as far as my little whitebread head could tell, he was taking off his head, what foul sorcery is that, get me out of here.

We left early, is what I'm trying to say.

The Dilettantista

@stonefruit Ha, that made me laugh at my computer screen, thank you.


I work across the street from the Chrysler Building.

And yeah, all I can think of is that line. It really is pretty shiny!

The Dilettantista

When I was in the 3rd or 4th grade, in our music class, you could bring in stuff to sing or perform (ask me about that time 9 year old me sang "Phantom of the Opera" solo including Christine's part and people laughed at me and I cried and hid in the teacher's office, that happened). Anyways, inexplicably, I decided that "Little Girls" would be a song I would sing, as a 9 year old, but I modeled it 100% off of Carol Burnett's performance and basically just did everything she did (minus the negligee and also the booze). Carol Burnett in this movie is everything, EVERYTHING.


@The Dilettantista Please please please be my new best friend.
When I was in 8th grade, I sang "New Ways to Dream" from Sunset Boulevard for the spring show. A cappella. 1 or 2 years prior, I was all set to audition for the talent show with "When I Look at You" from Scarlet Pimpernel, but was saved from THAT embarrassment by illness. Did I mention that the Scarlet Pimpernel audition would have been judged by a jury of my peers?

The Dilettantista

@MarianTheLibrarian These are all really really good stories, do you ever wonder "what if"?


@The Dilettantista I spend way more time wondering about it than I should. Way more time.

Hello Dolly

It's been a long time since I've seen the movie, I didn't realize how many songs were in the movie that aren't on the Broadway cast recording (Andrea McArdle version).


I was about 8 when the show came out on Broadway, and I was obsessed. I desperately wanted to be onstage with those orphans, but I didn't know anything about how they got there. I figured everybody just got "discovered" somehow, so I spent a lot of time sitting alone in the family car singing loudly while my mom was in the grocery store - you know, in case a Broadway talent scout was walking through the parking lot in suburban Pittsburgh.

My dad took me to NYC to see the show in person, and it was one of the greatest moments of my life. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of the orphans!

I, too, can't think of anything else when I hear phrases like "Beau Brummell," "shine like the top of the Chrysler building, etc. And the first time I heard this lyric to the song "Way Back to Then" from the musical (title of show), I burst into tears:

Dancing in the backyard/
Koolaid mustache and butterfly wings/
Hearing Andrea McArdle sing on the hi-fi in the den/
I've been waiting my whole life/
To find a way back to then.


Anyway, I remember loathing the movie, but I've been considering showing it to my 5 year old daughter. Now I'm more interested in giving it another look!


Yes, yes, yes! I could hear all of this perfectly in my head as I read it.

When I was about six and my sister was four, my earnest liberal do-gooder parents sat us down one evening to talk seriously about welcoming a foster child into our home. My sister and I, after endless viewings of Annie, responding by gleefully dancing and singing, "We're getting an ORR-phan! We're getting an ORR-phan!"

So, no. No foster siblings ever arrived.


All female dogs of medium size with MOXIE and SPUNK should be named PEPPER. The only other acceptable choice is RUBY. The end.


You know how feel alone sometimes? And sometimes like you have a special and unique set of life experiences and tastes?

And then you read the Hairpin and feel both elated that there are people basically exactly like you and you are not alone, but also just a little deflated because you are not unique at all.

In sum, I love Annie and all of these songs.


You guys, I'm reading this on the train and I no joke BURST into tears. Annie was pretty much the only thing I thought about from 5-10 years old, and it all came rushing back. Bless you, Nicole. (Drys tears, adopts plucky orphan and mangy dog, marries bald man, takes bath in gin.)


Let's be real, Jay-Z took Hard Knock Life (and probably Annie) from lukewarm to hot when he sampled it in his Ghetto Anthem rendition. Wins my vote for best song, hands down.


"Betcha he reads / betcha she sews..."

Anyone else hear this in Liz Lemon's voice?

Nicole Cliffe

ME. (hastily claws earbuds out, shoves in desk)


Oh, I'm late to this party, but yes yes yes! This movie was probably THE defining movie of my childhood and when my record started skipping, I weighed down the needle on my Fisher Price record player with pennies so that it would keep playing smoothly.

One of the best things about being a voice teacher is being able to assign songs from Annie to my 12-14 year olds. And also I have one student in her late 50s to whom I assigned "Little Girls." And playing the piano along with them is hilarious (incidentally, I cannot believe I didn't own the songbook until I started teaching non-classical musicians a couple years ago).

Getting cast as Miss Hannigan is on my list, yo, and it would be a major departure because I'm an opera singer. But I'm pretty sure I would just be cribbing Carol Burnett's version.


There used to be a very interesting documentary on Netflix about a bunch of women who all, at one time or another, played Annie (including SJP and Quinn) and how it affected their adult lives, which is to say that it mostly messed them up.


@Piefingers@twitter That's the one I mentioned upthread. It's called Life After Tomorrow and was on Showtime.


Life After Tomorrow! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvePwgmEZwY


I watched this just last night! with my 9yo daughter, who promptly decided that "Being a mom is really hard. I'm just going to get orphans, they already know how to clean". Hmmm, not quite the takeaway lesson I was hoping for.


Well this performance from today should be included in this discussion! http://www.nowthisnews.com/news/israeli-kids-sing-annie-president/


I first saw the Broadway show a few years ago, and did not realize until I read the program that 'Sign' was only for the movie. It destroyed me.

Please make this a regular feature - it was one of my favorite pieces I've ever read on the Hairpin. There are so many possibilities: Sound of Music (universally acknowledged clunker: Something Good), Grease (Hopelessly Devoted! So underrated and so good. But There Are Worse Things I Could Do is the obvious winner.), Mary Poppins, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, etc.


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