“The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow…”
The musical Annie came out on film in 1982 when I was 10 years old. I was a dancer, constantly in motion, and a handful for my parents. I didn’t want for anything as a child except maybe a really good friend who didn’t bully me and to not have to go to my other parents’ house and be criticized for not being a proper little lady. Movies and musicals were a favorite pastime and my cousins and I would frequently act out musical scenes using my portable turntable and records as a soundtrack.
Annie was a favorite because there were several parts and typically we chose to be the orphans in the support roles rather than the star. My cousins fought over being Molly or Pepper. I took whatever role I could get. My cousins were dancers, too, so we would take over my concrete back patio or my aunt and uncle’s screened-in patio room and make a whole stage production out of it.
Fast forward to the year of The Great Pause, among other things, and a Thanksgiving that was just plain weird. For the first time, my little family of four was alone, and I took it upon myself to choose our mealtime programming. My son had seen the Annie remake with Jamie Foxx, but neither kid had seen the original. It was interesting watching the film with them as they are both very adept at pointing out all the ways old films are problematic. I agreed with many of their comments, but then I pointed out to them the main reason I loved this film: My mom, their beloved grandmother, was a “Little Orphan Annie.”
In middle school my mother was placed in a children’s home in Sacramento and she’s told me many stories over the years of her spunky attitude and the trouble she got into. Her favorite saying to me when I became a preteen was, “Anything you can even think of doing I’ve already done, so don’t even think about it.” And yet, my mom is one of the most hopeful people I know. Despite all of the awful things she experienced in her life, she is resilient and always does her best to give me a wonderful life.
And then there’s the song. Who doesn’t feel their spirit lift at the lyrics “bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there’ll be sun”? Much like the more current “Let it Go,” “Tomorrow” is one of those songs that you can’t help but smile while you sing it, and I always think of my mom as a little girl who might have been singing her own version of this song in the childrens’ home. She was a motherless child who turned out to be the best mom to me and all of my friends and other community kids who still call her Mom to this day.
There’s also a subplot in the movie between billionaire Oliver Warbucks and Franklin D. Roosevelt that child-me totally forgot about. They have two conversations in which Warbucks complains to FDR about his New Deal, which the president is trying to get Warbucks to get on board with at the very least. They have a couple of exchanges that made me shiver thinking of the parallels between today’s economic recession and that of the Great Depression. Here’s a clip, but the line that stands out to me is:
Warbucks: “You don’t think about what your programs will do to the economy in the long run.”
Roosevelt: “People don’t eat in the long run.”
The New Deal brought hope to a lot of folks on the brink of starvation and complete destitution. I know our current situation is different in a lot of ways, but that same fear pervades. We have a light at the end of the tunnel with vaccines showing promise and the potential of a new administration to lead us out of the economic darkness. We can always hope that a billionaire like Warbucks will step up, or that our new administration may have a New Deal-esque plan, however at this point it’s more than economics that we need to focus on. Social and racial justice, equality for the queer community, and improvements for women, education, and the environment and and and…the list goes on.
But the sun will come out tomorrow, come what may…and I love ya, Tomorrow! You’re only a day away and I know you’ll be bringing hope with you.
NOTE: A few weeks after writing this post, we lost a legend in the dance community. Anne Reinking played the role of Warbucks secretary in Annie and was one of my heroes as a young dancer. Her leggy grace inspired my own choreography and always made me aspire to be a better dancer. I encourage you to take a look at her work if you ever need to just take a breath and appreciate beauty. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/14/theater/ann-reinking-dead.html
Stay tuned for more Hope, Love, and Queeromance…
R.L. Merrill writes inclusive romance with quirky, relatable characters full of love, hope, and rock ‘n’ roll. You can find her at https://www.rlmerrillauthor.com and on the socials as @rlmerrillauthor. You can also find her horror-infused music reviews at https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/author/rowritesrocknromance/