In 1977 I was only 2 years old. I remember sitting with my mom watching the Tony awards that year and we were both blown away. She went out the next day and purchased the album because she thought it would be something I would enjoy. She just didn't realize how much. I was hooked! I'd sing with the record all day and every day. I told her when I was old enough I would be in the show. So 3 years later when "Annie" came to town she got us front row tickets to the 3rd National tour. Although the souvenoir program they gave us of the OBC, Mollie Hall was playing the part of Annie. I was absolutely enchanted by the production and obsessed with being in the show myself. So when it came back to town 3 years later, the Broadway show had come to an end but the 4th National tour was still on the road. At that time Kathleen Sisk was playing the part of Annie and it had been downsized to a smaller cast, but it was just as enjoyable. I have also seen other touring productions. If I recall Heather Soroka and Amanda Bolan were playing Annie in those shows.
2 years later it was advertised they were holding auditions for a regional production which was planned on running for a year based on ticket sales and would tour throughout the state. My mom was hesitant because a parent would have to chaperone if we made cast. After 2 call backs I was told I had won the role of orphan July and the understudy for Annie. I was so excited especially when I got to take a copy of the script home with me. To this day I probably could recite the entire stage play by memory. Anyways, I'm not sure exactly what happened but I was told the little girl playing Annie was leaving the show after 4 months and I would be taking over the part after the weekend. The show ran for about another 4 months but was cancelled due to poor ticket sales.
I would have been just as happy if the show ran for only a week, but the experience was incredible and nothing I've ever done to this day has been able to match it. Of course it gave me not only the confidence and the acting "bug" to do more, that's why when I saw the documentary "Life After Tomorrow" was like taking a trip down memory lane. The hardest part was closing night when we all knew we wouldn't be doing another show and probably wouldn't see each other again.
And I did spend the rest of my childhood and through the college years doing many different shows during that time, but Annie is still my favorite musical of all time and one of the best experiences of my life.