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'Annie' tour plays Kodak in Hollywood

Posted: January 16, 2009 4:29 p.m.
Updated: January 16, 2009 4:45 a.m.
Leapin' Lizards! America's most beloved musical, "Annie," is back in 30th anniversary tour running for eight performances Jan. 13-18 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

The original Broadway production of "Annie" won seven 1977 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score. The musical ran for 2,377 performances and has subsequently been produced all over the world. The original production is one of the top 20 longest running shows in Broadway history.

"Annie" boasts one of Broadway's most memorable scores, including "It's the Hard-Knock Life," "Easy Street," "N.Y.C." and the ever optimistic "Tomorrow."

The story of "Little Orphan Annie" is a heart-warming tale of Annie's adventures, her escape from the orphanage and the wicked Miss Hannigan to a new life with Daddy Warbucks. "Annie" is set in 1933 and the depths of the Depression.

"When I was reading the script I was amazed at how relevant it is today," said Analisa Leaming who plays Grace Farrell, Daddy Warbucks' private secretary. "It is amazing how history repeats itself."

Leaming, who began her career in musical theater after graduating high school in Tennessee, joined this national "Annie" tour for its second year which began in November. The tour has already played several major venues throughout the country before coming to the Kodak.

"The message is so uplifiting," said Leaming. "You have a little girl who comes from nothing and just wants love and finds it - and a man who you think has everything and doesn't."

Leaming said the positive message of "Annie" is one reason the show is so popular.

"It is warm and fuzzy and everyone loves a story like that," she said. "Annie" is also a popular show for families, said Leaming.

"The kids are on the edge of their seats watching the show," she said. "The music and the jokes, there's something for everyone. It's a family-friendly show."

The show includes Sandy, the dog that Annie adopts and who Leaming said performs every night on cue.

"It was fun watching the rehearsal process with the dog, he hits his cues, barks when he suppose to - he's just another member of the cast," Leaming said.

Just in case Sandy is "out of sorts" there is also an "understudy" Sandy waiting in the wings. Leaming said one of her favorite moments of the show is singing the number "N.Y.C."

"We stand at the end of the stage and sing and my heart always beats a little faster and I get so excited," she said.



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