Skip to main content









Donation Heart Ribbon

Annie: It’s The Hard-Knock Life, From Script To Stage

Airs Friday, June 28, 2013 at 10 p.m. & Sunday, June 30 at 1 p.m. on KPBS TV

Credit: Courtesy of Joan Marcus

Above: At front (l-r), Georgi James (Pepper), Emily Rosenfeld (Molly), Madi Rae DiPietro (July). At back (l-r), Lilla Crawford (Annie), Junah Jang (Tessie), Taylor Richarson (Duffy) and Tyrah Skye Odoms (Kate) in "Annie" at the Palace Theatre (broadway at 47th Street). "Annie" features a book by Thomad Meehan, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin. The production in choreographed by Any Blankenbuehler and directed by James Lapine.

"Annie" fans and audiences nationwide are now offered an exclusive, behind-the curtain 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."

“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.

Courtesy of WNET

Tyrah Skye Odoms (Kate)

Courtesy of WNET

Tony Award winning choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler working with the cast.

Courtesy of WNET

Costume designer Susan Hilferty with Emily Rosenfeld (Molly) and Georgi James (Pepper).

Couresy of WNET

Emily Rosenfeld (cast as Molly).

Courtesy of WNET

Tyrah Skye Odoms (Kate), Georgi James (Pepper), Madi Rae DiPietro (July), Emily Rosenfeld (Molly), Junah Jang (Tessie), Taylor Richardson (Duffy), Jaidyn Young in Times Square, New York.

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.

"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.

A comprehensive accompanying website 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 website 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

It’s been 35 years since the little orphan Annie first stepped onto a Broadway stage. For Annie’s return to Broadway, this documentary offers a behind-the-scenes look, from the earliest phases of discussion among the creative team, rehearsals with actors, to opening night on Broadway.

Annie: Choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler

Blankenbuehler FINAL from Video Encoding Facility on Vimeo.

Annie: Costume Designer Susan Hilferty

Hilferty FINAL from Video Encoding Facility on Vimeo.

Annie: Set Designer David Korins

Korins FINAL from Video Encoding Facility on Vimeo.

Annie: Director James Lapine

James Lapine FINAL from Video Encoding Facility on Vimeo.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or subscribe to our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.