THIRTEEN, the flagship PBS station in New York, and Arielle Tepper Madover Productions have announced a ground-breaking partnership focused on the upcoming Broadway revival of Annie.
On October 1, two days before Annie begins previews at the Palace Theatre, THIRTEEN will launch a comprehensive Annie website featuring quizzes, historical games, audio presentations, and video interviews with the Broadway production team. The Web site gives children, the adults in their lives, and Annie fans everywhere an opportunity to explore the world of the musical and get an up-close look behind the scenes of a major Broadway show.
In addition to the Web site, THIRTEEN is producing It's the Hard-Knock Life: From Script to Stage, a primetime PBS special slated for broadcast in 2013. The film will follow the development of a single production number from the musical - the tuneful and rhythmic "It's the Hard-Knock Life," defiantly belted out by the orphans - from the earliest phases of the creative process through Opening Night. The film will show audiences nationwide that actors are only one part of a complex whole when it comes to a Broadway production.
"THIRTEEN's commitment to the arts is reaffirmed time and again with ongoing series such asGreat Performances, Great Performances at the Met, and NYC-ARTS," said Neal Shapiro, president and CEO of WNET. "But this initiative, which we like to think of as bringing Annie to the iPad generation, will give children across the country a highly accessible look at the nuts and bolts of a Broadway show, as well as an interactive and enjoyable history lesson. Exploring the site will be a voyage of discovery for them."
"We're extremely excited to partner with THIRTEEN on this innovative project," says Annieproducer Arielle Tepper Madover. "The Web site and the upcoming PBS special will not only greatly enhance our current production, but serve as a lasting memento of a beloved show - one seen by over 50 million people in its various incarnations - and an entertaining primer on producing a musical that we know will appeal to kids everywhere."
The central feature of the Web site - created in partnership with New York-based design company Funny Garbage -- is a gallery of free online games and interactive features, developed by THIRTEEN's Education Department and aligned to national learning standards. Each aspect of the site is designed to strengthen literacy skills through exploration of a variety of themes and topics related to the show.
Among the features of the site are a "Leapin' Lizards Quiz," focused on Depression-era words and terms used in the musical; "A Trip Through Old New York" offering historic photos of 1930s NYC juxtaposed with contemporary images; a quiz testing user knowledge of the musical; and a variety of printable activities in which children can design costumes, perform a radio show, and crack a secretAnnie code.
Audio presentations expose children to the history of radio, the life of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Great Depression, and Annie's odyssey from comic strip to the Great White Way and beyond. A 1936 episode of the original "Little Orphan Annie" radio show is also included.