PLAYBILL PICKS: The Stage's Ten Greatest Christmas Scenes

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25 Dec 2013

Lilla Crawford and Anthony Warlow in Annie.
Photo by Joan Marcus

"Santa Claus we never see/Santa Claus, what's that? Who's he?" wail the orphans in the 1977 musical's number "It's the Hard Knock Life." Maybe that was true for the moppets in the past, but this year (that is, 1933) Little Orphan Annie becomes the temporary — and later, permanent — guest of Daddy Warbucks in the days preceding Christmas, making the tyke's good fortune all that more magical. The two tour the lushly decorated city in "NYC," and even convince FDR to enact a "New Deal for Christmas" in the show's big finale. Since Warbucks is the richest man in the nation, you know that the President sings that number beneath an enormous tree. Annie's red dress and spiffed-up curls only add to the visual cheer. "It is interesting," observed musical theatre expert and correspondent Steven Suskin, "that nowadays, producers seem to think that they can only run a 'Christmas' show during the Thanksgiving/Christmas season. This was never an issue with Annie, which opened in April and attracted audiences for years." (Even members of the writing team publicly lamented the change of holiday in the 1982 film version, which replaced Christmas with the Fourth of July for the finale. Christmas trumps Independence Day in the minds of kids!) Watch video highlights of the new Broadway production of Annie (including "New Deal for Christmas").


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