The Secret Weapon in a Not-So-Great Depression

06/20/2010 08:53 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Freddie Gershon CEO of Music Theatre International; 2012 Tony Honor for Excellence in Theatre recipient; former entertainment attorney and music executive

Dear Annie:

Don't worry your little red head. The sun'll come out tomorrow.

Annie, you can bet your bottom dollar that (even though your 86-year-old syndicated newspaper comic strip has disappeared from the nation's newspapers this week), tomorrow there'll be sun.

Annie! Forget about print 'cause years ago, it was big; but today, it's about instant gratification and nothing does that better than theater and Broadway, live with the audiences Tweeting, texting and posting during intermission and after the show to tell their every thought about each scene and they make or break a show! I wouldn't be surprised if some of the auditions for your part don't end up on YouTube... It's a dream role... and all those little girls on stage with you! I hear that close to 10,000 little girls showed up in Tokyo to audition for one production of the show.

You go, girl! You're going back to Broadway. You are the original Broadway Baby! But don't worry, those 1,000+ schools that put on student productions of "Annie" every year can still have their kids singing about tomorrow... Students should be optimistic and believe in a better future.

No one knows how to pick herself up faster than you do, so maybe the newspaper thing was a mini-bummer, but remember - "tomorrow clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow" and you'll be social-networked beyond any print newspaper's wildest dreams of distribution; and the world will be watching and listening.

Thanks to the fortitude, energy and vision of Tom Meehan, you'll be back on Broadway in 2012 with an updated book and a chance to enchant more generations with your important story and those terrific songs with memorable music by Charlie Strouse and those endearing heartwarming lyrics from Marty Charnin. The boys are back...

So Annie, stick out your chin and grin. Herbert Hoover, The New Deal, The Great Depression, hope, orphanages and overcoming obstacles will become subjects of conversation again. Do you know how good that will make everyone feel (don't forget Sandy - woof, woof - probably gonna be a rescue dog, too), cause if we can get through The Great Depression, then we're already getting through this Not-So-Great Depression?

I'm sad about the comic strip, too. But even though the world is changing, your message will always be welcome. It's not that many tomorrows until 2012. See you then and the sun will have come out... Annie... Here's lookin' at you, kid!

All the best,

Freddie Gershon

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