President Annie: Dance company takes orphan to the Oval Office • Brooklyn Paper

President Annie: Dance company takes orphan to the Oval Office

Dancing queens: The cast of “Annie Abundantly” practices for its big debut at Kings Theater on June 26.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

Tomorrow! Tomorrow! She’ll take office — tomorrow!

A Prospect Lefferts Garden dance school will stage its own version of the classic Broadway musical “Annie” — one in which the curly-headed star grows up to be the first black woman president. The director of “Annie Abundantly!” hopes the June 26 performance will encourage the audience and the dancers to dream big.

“I’m hoping that people will be inspired,” said Karisma Jay, who grew up in Clinton Hill. “Right now it feels really great to be a woman of color and to be inspiring little women of color to just imagine. Because what would be wrong with a woman president?”

Jay, who founded the AbunDance Academy in 2013, was a big fan of “Annie” growing up, but wondered what happened to the lovable orphan once she got older. Inspired by some of today’s leading political ladies, Jay dreamt up her own finale.

“With all of the buzz around Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama I came up with the idea that Annie is the next president-elect,” she said.

The one-night performance at the Kings Theatre will feature 120 dancers, showing off hip-hop, jazz, tap, and ballet moves to Jay’s pre-recorded narration and music. The show has all the hits from the original score — including “It’s the Hard-Knock Life” and “Tomorrow,” but Jay added her own touches to the storyline. The girls from the orphanage go to artsy events such as “Swan Lake” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the show ends with a West Indian Day parade-themed carnival at the mansion of Daddy Warbucks.

Jay started AbunDance to help students of color hone their dance talents and explore their passion for getting down, and has expanded its program to senior centers around Brooklyn. The show will feature students from ages 3 to 85, with two dancers taking on the role of Annie — one as a kid, and the other as an adult.

This will be the academy’s largest performance so far, and Jay says that taking the stage of the historic Kings Theater in Flatbush is the opportunity of a lifetime for many of her students.

“We’ve very excited,” she said. “For some of our students this is their first time performing, and for our little ones to be able to say they’ve performed at Kings Theater is amazing.”

“Annie Abundantly!” at Kings Theater [1027 Flatbush Ave. at Tilden Avenue in Flatbush, www.abundancearts.org, (347) 788–1069]. June 26 at 6 pm. $45.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
They’ve got her back: “Annie Abundantly” tell the story of Little Orphan Annie, rallying the other girls in the orphanage, and her later adventures on the road to the White House.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

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