"Annie" production team and THIRTEEN form unprecedented partnership as part of an extensive educational initiative to foster children's interest in the performing arts.
NEW YORK, Sept. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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 as Great 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 Annie producer 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 secret Annie 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.
Video interviews on the multimedia site profile key members of the current Annie production team, providing kid-friendly insights into their careers and roles with the musical. Choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, costume designer Susan Hilferty, and director James Lapine are among the individuals sharing their experiences.
The Annie education site builds on THIRTEEN's long history of reaching and teaching children and their families with multimedia projects and products. The station's award-winning Education Department has decades of experience developing initiatives targeted to school-aged children and their families. The department's activities -- related to programs such as Cyberchase, Dinosaur Train, and Sid The Science Kid, and the groundbreaking American history video game Mission US -- reach hundreds of thousands of children, educators and parents each year.
The Annie project will set a new standard for educational outreach in support of a Broadway production, and provide an innovative model for re-imagining the way children and their families relate to live theatre, whether they see Annie in its present revival, on tour, or in their local high school auditorium.
The new production of the Tony Award-winning classic musical Annie (music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and book by Thomas Meehan), will open at the legendary Palace Theatre on Thursday, November 8, 2012. Annie is based on the comic strip Little Orphan Annie by Harold Gray licensed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.
Funding for the Annie education initiative is provided by The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Helena Rubinstein Foundation, the Henry and Lucy Moses Fund, The Kenneth and Hazel Roe Foundation and the Leslie and Roslyn Goldstein Foundation.
In 2012, WNET is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THIRTEEN, New York's flagship public media provider. As the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children's programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state's unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJ Today and the new online newsmagazine MetroFocus.
"Annie" education site:
Official "Annie" Broadway site: