Last evening Timothy and I went to the Derby Dinner Playhouse in Clarksville, Indiana, to see the musical, Annie. We are celebrating our 44th (!) anniversary this week and this was a delightful way to do so. The story derives from the comic strip, Little Orphan Annie, which debuted in 1924; then a radio show began in 1930, and in 1932 film adaptations were made. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen the entire TV movie, so I don’t know how closely the play follows that story line. But what surprised me from this rendition was how markedly the Annie story speaks to the political/economic climate of the period—the Great Depression of the 1930’s.
The billionaire tycoon, Oliver Warbucks (republican), is losing money and he blames the existing democratic government (President Roosevelt) for his troubles. In this rags to riches story, Warbucks invites 11-year-old Annie from a local NYC orphanage to spend Christmas in his home—an effort to bless an underprivileged child. Instead, Annie blesses Warbucks and his household with her marvelous spirit of optimism, bringing smiles and happiness to everyone around her. Warbucks “falls in love” with the child and, after some difficulty, adopts her.
So the repeating theme of the musical is expressed in Annie’s words this way:
I love ya, Tomorrow.
You’re always a day away!
In other words, regardless of the pain of today, there is always hope for a better tomorrow. This is illustrated in the “fairytale” adoption of Annie by Warbucks. In the play the not-too-with-it, not-too-creative thinker, FDR (democrat) is able to help Warbucks (republican) realize his dream of adopting Annie. Along the way FDR, with cheerful suggestions from Annie, manages to stumble on to a New Deal, promising economic recovery for the U.S., as well. So everyone wins: the tomorrows realize all the joys of “happily ever after.”
Will my sorrows resolve into “happily ever after” in the tomorrows? I wait and pray. “Tomorrow” has many meanings, and I am thankful that one of them can be that of heaven. Last night I felt that I could grasp a little more truly the reality of heaven and the joy it promises: the hope that all tears will be wiped way and only happiness and good will remain. It’s easy to view heaven rather as a sweet fairytale, but faith declares it is not.
There’s hope for tomorrow.
For Jesus awaits me there.