ANNIE: It’s the Hard-Knock Life, From Script to Stage

Air date: 06/28/2013

ANNIE: It’s the Hard-Knock Life, From Script to Stage Offers an Unprecedented Inside View of the Making of a Broadway Show, to air on Friday, June 28 at 9 p.m. on PBS

Primetime special charts one production number from inception to performance, following the child actors and Broadway production team leading up to Opening Night


“Everyone knows ANNIE. Even my dog knows ANNIE,” says Tyrah Odom, currently appearing as one of the orphans in the new Broadway revival of the beloved musical.

ANNIE fans and audiences nationwide are now offered an exclusive, behind-thecurtain look at what it takes to put on a major Broadway production, in the primetime special, ANNIE: It’s the Hard-Knock Life, From Script to Stage, airing Friday, June 28 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings).

The documentary film follows the development of a single production number in the musical: the tuneful and rhythmic “It’s the Hard-Knock Life,” defiantly belted out by the orphans. From the earliest discussions among  the set and costume designers, through the casting process, into  choreography and vocal rehearsals, onto the stage, and finally, into performance, the program follows  the young cast’s journey to Opening Night. ANNIE: It’s the Hard-Knock Life, From Script to Stage will show audiences that actors are only one part of a complex whole when it comes to a major Broadway production.

Viewers will be introduced to the work of the talented creative professionals who impact, shape, and contribute to the final production. Broadway veterans — Tony Award winning choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler (In The Heights), Tony Award winning costume designer Susan Hilferty (Wicked, Spring Awakening, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying), and set designer David Korins (Chinglish, Godspell, An Evening with Patti Lupone & Mandy Patinkin, Motown) — reveal their creative process as they work to prepare the young actors, most of them making their Broadway debuts. Additional  interviewees include James Lapine (director), Martin Charnin (lyricist), Thomas Meehan (book), Charles Strouse (music), and pre-teen actors Tyrah Odoms, Emily Rosenfeld, and Jaidyn Young, among others. Of an ensemble cast recruited from all across America, the pint-sized Emily Rosenfeld – the orphan Molly – is the documentary’s standout star, leaping off the screen with her infectious enthusiasm, singing and dancing chops, and outsized 9-year-old charm.

A comprehensive accompanying Web site at features quizzes, historical games, audio presentations, and video interviews with the Broadway production team, giving kids and families everywhere an opportunity to explore the world of the musical. The Web site sets a new standard for educational outreach in support of a Broadway production, and provides an innovative model for re-imagining the way children and their families relate to live theatre, whether  on Broadway, on tour, or in their local high school auditorium.

ANNIE: It’s the Hard-Knock Life, From Script to Stage is directed by award-winning filmmaker Joshua Seftel (Taking on the Kennedys, War Inc, This American Life). Seftel and his crew spent more than six months following the Broadway revival behind the scenes as the show raced toward opening night. “I first saw ANNIE on Broadway when I was eight,” says Seftel. “Growing up with two sisters, the ANNIE cast album was constantly playing. Many years later, it is a special experience to get to see the show reimagined up close.”

ANNIE: It’s the Hard-Knock Life, From Script to Stage is a presentation of THIRTEEN for WNET. For 50 years, THIRTEEN has been making the most of the rich resources and passionate people of New York and the world, reaching millions of people with on-air and online programming that celebrates arts and culture, offers insightful commentary on the news of the day, explores the worlds of science and nature, and invites students of all ages to have fun while learning.

Executive-in-charge of production: Stephen Segaller. Executive Producer: Julie Anderson. Produced and directed by Joshua Seftel. Produced by Jill Landaker Grunes.

Funding for ANNIE is provided by The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, the Helena Rubinstein Foundation, the Henry and Lucy Moses Fund, and the Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment.

Additional funding for ANNIE educational outreach provided by The Kenneth and Hazel Roe Foundation and the Leslie and Roslyn Goldstein Foundation.


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