Harold Gray's comic strip Little Orphan Annie introduced the ghost-eyed titular character to the world, but it was the Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin musical who gave Annie a theme song — and everybody knows a theme song is essential to pop-culture survival. Actually, Annie, the musical, has two theme songs. "Tomorrow" is a soaring anthem, rife with the hopeful idealism that powers Annie through life. It's easy to parody, because everybody knows the words, and it is a touch sappy, but come on — what's wrong with a little hope? "It's the Hard-Knock Life," as Jay-Z can tell you, is the street anthem, as it embodies the shrug-it-off-and-keep-going mentality of the hustler. Not that Annie's a hustler. No, she's a charmer, the little girl everybody loves (except orphanage headmistress Miss Hannigan). And the Muny's production of Annie has quite a charmer in the lead role, Abigail Isom (pictured), a St. Louisan you may have seen in various Stages St. Louis productions. She's a cutie pie with a great voice and a boatload of charisma — no wonder the Muny's added two extra shows. Miss Isom takes the stage at the Muny in Forest Park (314-361-1900 or www.muny.org) at 8:15 p.m. Monday, June 22, through Tuesday, June 30. Tickets are $9 to $66.
June 22-30, 2009