A mere twenty years ago, I was plucked from obscurity in my tiny Catholic high school to be the lead in our musical production of Annie. I was so excited and so overwhelmed by this opportunity. Mrs. K. saw that spark in me that she knew would make me the ideal choice for Annie – sweet and spunky. Mrs. K. was a wonderful director. She encouraged us to do character development and come up with a back story of our characters to allow us to get more in touch with our emotions and make it a more authentic character portrayal.
I pouted quite a bit after singing Tomorrow ad nauseam. I also practiced my songs with my voice professor from our local college, so I was really tired of the song. The biggest challenge for actors is to make the material fresh every time they perform. I was no exception to the rule. I constantly chafed under the Annie mantle. Why was she so damn happy all the time? Her life was pretty rotten and miserable prior to being rescued by Daddy Warbucks.
After I became a mom, I appreciated the beauty and the message behind Tomorrow. It is all about hope that tomorrow will be a new day. I can start anew with a clean slate. I can put the mistakes of the previous day behind me. Each day, each hour, each moment is a chance to make a connection with my daughters, my husband, a coworker or a friend. Find those little glimmers of hope if you are struggling. Cherish those moments of hope.
I just keep taking baby steps and putting one foot in front of the other. Hope is out there, waiting for me to make it tangible. Hope is the delight in my Munch’s face when I tell her that my favorite part of my day is coming home and seeing how excited everyone is to see me. Hope is the comforting hug and kiss from a husband whose broad shoulders just embody comfort and peace. Hope is the many kisses and huge hug from little Skeeter who seems to know exactly when her mama needs a hug and kiss like that. Hope is Munch’s request for her mommy to sing Tomorrow every night at bedtime and watch her joy and delight as I sing just for her. Hope is the wise counsel from my friends, my husband, my mom and my therapist to make me realize that this too, shall pass. The storm clouds of anxiety will blow over, and the sun will come out tomorrow. That is Annie’s legacy, and I now appreciate that character for the hope she instilled in me. I have always believed that playing a character on stage allows you to take some of your own personality and amplify certain qualities. At times when I start spiraling into shame, anxiety and depression, I need to sing my song of hope as a reminder to myself that it will get better.