"Annie" is a musical that portrays that one's wishes of happiness can be reached, shall we have sufficient patience, and enthusiasm. It is set in the early 1930's, the time of the Depression. This musical is historically correct in all the references it points to in politics, society, and history itself. It could very well be utilized as an excellent civics and government lesson for anyone.
According to the authors, this musical was written as a "reaction to the Nixonian America of 1972." (It was however premiered in 1977, after the Vietnam war had ended, and the economy of the country was shifting upwards.) The musical depicts the similarities between the Nixon Years, and the Great Depression. It is in these eras, where "Annie" is clearly a metaphor for courage, morality, innocence and optimism in the face of cynicism and pessimism.
In the Prologue, we see a couple arrive at an orphanage. After conversing amongst themselves, they leave a baby at the doorstep of it. Later, a woman, Miss Hannigan, steps out. Complaining about getting another orphan, she reads a note left on the baby, "Please take care of our little darling. Her name is Annie... We have left half of a silver locket so that when we come back for her you will know that she's our baby."
Time passes, and the thought of finding her parents never vanishes from Annie's mind. She is hopeful that one day they will come back to the Orphanage and take her home. She assures herself that her parents are great, and ideal no matter where they are; that their one mistake was giving her up. Annie shares these feelings with her roommates, the rest of the orphans. They wish for the same thing, but tell Annie that that is very unlikely to occur. Regardless of that, Annie remains strong in spirit, and in despite of living a hard-knock life, doesn't give up hope.
One morning, Annie seizes the opportunity to escape from the Orphanage by hiding in a laundry bag that is put into a truck. She says to herself that if her parents aren't coming back for her, she is going to find them. Once in the streets of New York, Annie finds herself lost and lonely, not knowing where to go. While wandering, she finds a stray dog, which she befriends. She begins to call him Sandy, because of his nice sandy color.
As Annie, along with Sandy, continues her journey, she encounters a so-called Hooverville, in which an assortment of unemployed New Yorkers aren't very grateful to the government for the Depression. The Hooverville-ites feel for Annie's situation, and invite her to join them for a cup of Mulligan stew. As this is happening, the police raid the Hooverville, and Annie is arrested, though Sandy escapes.
Annie is taken back to the Orphanage by a police officer. Just as Miss Hannigan is about to punish Annie, into the Orphanage comes Miss Grace Farrell, who is the private secretary to Mr. Oliver Warbucks... the Mr. Oliver Warbucks. Warbucks has decided to invite an orphan to spend Christmas holidays at home. Miss Farrell chooses Annie as that orphan. Miss Hannigan is devastated and furious over this.
When Warbucks first meets Annie, he's rather unhappy that the orphan isn't a boy. Even then, he, Grace and Annie, take a walk through the enchanting streets of New York. After that, Warbucks has begun to develop parental feelings for Annie, something which he did not expect.
A few days pass by, and Warbucks takes the decision to adopt Annie. When Annie is told this, her reaction is that her one wish is to find her parents. Warbucks, though a bit crushed by the fact that Annie doesn't desire to be adopted, compromises to her that he'll find her parents, and offers a big sum of money to anyone who can prove they are. Miss Hannigan, along with her con-artist brother, Rooster, and his girlfriend, Lily, finds out about the reward money, and the three of them scheme a plan to pass themselves off as Annie's parents and collect the reward.
In the meantime, Warbucks goes to great lengths on his search. He even gets the President involved, President Roosevelt(FDR). All the publicity of the case brings up hundreds of couples claiming to be Annie's parents. Sadly, all of them turn out to be fakes, not one knowing about Annie's locket. With this happening, Warbucks says to Annie once again that he wishes to adopt her, and Annie happily welcomes the thought.
One day before Christmas, as Warbucks is signing the adoption papers, Rooster and Lily show up in disguise claiming to be Annie's parents. Though suspicious of them, Warbucks is vaguely convinced when they show a fake birth certificate, and thanks to Miss Hannigan, have half of a silver locket. He asks them that they return for Annie and the reward money the following morning.
On Christmas morning, just as Rooster and Lily pick up the reward check, FDR and the FBI arrive saying that in their investigations they have found out that Annie's parents died years ago. They discover that those picking up the check claiming to be Annie's parents are Rooster and Lily. They arrest the both of them, and Miss Hannigan as well. As this is happening, a box arrives with Sandy in it, whom Warbucks had found. Annie, Warbucks, Grace, and everyone happily celebrate Christmas, and, a new life, not only for them but also for everyone as the New Deal approaches.