A: Why “Annie” Still Makes Us Smile


The sun will come out tomorrow.”


When Harold Gray first introduced the world to Little Orphan Annie with his comic strip, there is no way he could have known the way this little red-head would take the world by storm and never let go. There was such fascination with this comic, it inspired a Broadway production which opened in 1977 and has been produced all over the globe, the original film in 1982, a Disney remake in 1999, and yet another film which was just released in 2014.

So what is it about this story which has captured our hearts so deeply? Part of its success can be attributed to quality productions with memorable musical numbers (the Broadway production earned Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Original Score). But the orphan from this humble comic strip never would have made it to Broadway unless there was something powerful within the story itself.

The Power of Hope

It is simply impossible not to fall in love with Annie, and this is because her character is so optimistic and full of hope that we can’t help but smile right along with her. In a world that can often be dark and gloomy, it is absolutely refreshing to come across a person (even in fiction) who radiates sunshine from the very core of their being.

No matter what sort of “hard knock life” she faces, Annie holds her head up high and remembers that “the sun will come out tomorrow.” And this enthusiasm and spirit of hope is exactly what ensures a bright future for this precious red-head. It causes Daddy Warbucks (along with the rest of the civilized world) to fall head over heels for her.

The Power of Redemption

What I think we love most about this story, however, is the fact that every character is able to find redemption and a fresh new beginning. Daddy Warbucks lived for nothing but money at first, but finds new meaning in life as his hardened heart is taught to love. And my favorite line from the 2014 film release comes from – believe it or not – Miss Hannigan! Played by Cameron Diaz, the bitter foster mom-gone-bad has a change of heart, and whispers, “I want to start again.” And this is exactly what she does. The message is clear… whether you’re a little lost, a forgotten child, or a total villain, no one is a hopeless cause. Anyone can start again, and find a brighter tomorrow.

An Eternal Message

Christian members of the audience will realize that the themes of hope and redemption are powerful because they reflect the Gospel itself. We were all lost in sin with no way out of our situation, until Jesus Christ and His death on the cross made a way for us to find a new beginning.

It’s a message that has brought hope to thousands upon thousands of lives… and one that has certainly worked for Little Orphan Annie.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

2 Corinthians 5:17


The Classics.jpg

This post was submitted as part of the A to Z Challenge, where participants agree to write an article that corresponds to each letter of the alphabet, posting every day of the month of April (except Sundays).

Here on The Artistic Christian,  my theme for the month is The Classics.  Each day I’ll examine a book, film, or work of art that has become a beloved classic and discuss what has made it such a success, and what eternal themes it contains that Christian artists can use as modern illustrations.

For daily reflections from my personal travels around the world, check out my companion blog, A Shepherd’s Reflections, where my theme for April is Reflections From Around the World.

46 thoughts on “A: Why “Annie” Still Makes Us Smile

  1. One of my favorite Broadway musicals. Redemption for the lost gives all of us hope. As Christians we can see this unfold in stories like Annie’s, but the whole world is still crying out for this kind of optimism. We all need to hear it over and over again. There is hope! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My parents took me to see Annie for my 10th birthday. I realize I am giving away my age, but I have a special place in my heart for this musical. Definitely a classic and I love how you related it back to our salvation in Christ. I’ll never look at it the same again…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Positivity and optimism have such a great effect on others, as shown in Little Annie’s attitude. Hers is a truly wonderful and inspirational story, so full of hope. I’ve only seen the film, but would love to see the stage show sometime. Lovely post, John. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Millie – and you should most definitely see this on stage! I’ve been accused of being a “hopeless optimist” before, but I think that a positive attitude is a powerful and beautiful thing!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. And for that I do apologize… I’ve had “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” playing in my head for days now! The music is wonderful, and so terribly catchy…


  4. Got to this on B Day… oh well better late than never. Made me smile. My daughter was in her school production of Annie and we so enjoyed experiencing it again. Have a great B Day 🙂 Cheryl

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi!
    Color me embarrassed! You followed my blog over two months ago, and I never came to greet you. I hope a long overdue welcome is better than no welcome, so Welcome! I also love Annie. Thanks for the follow!


  6. Always a great show I’m directing an amateur cast in Somerset doing it this Easter. Such a message of hope at a time when we all can cry out to the world the message of redemption and hope. I am using your basis here as a ladies meeting talk about how directing secular shows can be used to show our faith. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

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