The musical “Annie” may not portray a very accurate view of adoption, but recent performances of the play benefited children in orphanages and foster care around the world.
The students of Woodbury High School as well as younger kids from the Minnesota community performed the show 10 times this fall. Because of the high level of performance and technical theatre under the direction of Jon and Karen Seashore, these shows all sold out.
As audience members received their tickets in the mail, they were asked to help the high school theatre cast extend the energy of the performance by “helping the Annie’s of today.” Play goers were requested to help fill the orphans’ toy box by donating new toys. Areas of special need were identified including toys to stimulate the development of infants and toddlers in institutional care and board games and sporting equipment for older children in Minnesota foster homes. Wooden toy boxes were built by a former “waiting child” and placed in the lobby.
Well, the audiences showed they cared and more that ‘a smidge for kids in an orphanage.” Six hundred thirty new toys were donated!!! Children served by three different agencies, Americans for International Aid and Adoption (AIAA), Children’s Home Society and Family Services (CHSFS) and Volunteers of America (VOA) will receive the toys.
In addition to toys brought in by audience members, toys for donation could also be purchased by play-goers. Little toys (matchbox cars, hackey sacks & rattles) were attached to handmade greeting cards which were delivered backstage to the performers. The actors could keep the personal greeting from grandma and donate the toy to the orphans’ toy box.
Modest effort from an adoptive parent and a few volunteers had a significant impact. Not only were sacks of toys donated, but both cast and audience members were reminded that there are still “Annies” today.
The impact was such that I would encourage other parents or adoption groups to approach high school, community theatre and even professional productions of “Annie” to ask to run a drive in conjunction with the show. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every performance of the musical helped the “Annies of today?”