Little Orphan Annie -- by James Whitcomb Riley

adapted for stage by Jeannette Jaquish

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CAST: Child 1, 2, 3 & 4, Bad Girl & Bad Boy (can be Child 1,2,3 or 4), Annie, Mother, Father, Old Folks, Black Thing.
STAGE: High stool at rear of stage for Annie. Black Thing actor hides downstage side, maybe an audience member who pulls on costume.
START: Children enter in order, dropping hats, scarves, baseball mitts, dolls, jackets, etc. on floor, as kids do..

CHILD 1: Little Orphan Annie (Children form line downstage across stage.)
CHILD 2: by James Whitcomb Riley

CHILD 1: Little Orphan Annie's come to our house to stay, (ANNIE ENTERS, picks up stuff, hangs it up)
And wash the cups and saucers up, and brush the crumbs away,

CHILD 2: And shoo the chickens off the porch, and dust the hearth, and sweep,
And make the fire, and bake the bread, and earn her board and keep;

CHILD 3: And all us other children, when the supper things are done,
We sit around the kitchen fire and have the mostest fun, (Child 1, 2, 3 go pull Annie to upstage high stool.)

CHILD 4: A-listenin’ to the witch tales that Annie tells about,
And the Gobble-ins that get you
(Children form half circle downstage of Annie, facing her.)
CHILDREN: (turn to yell at audience) If You Don’t Watch Out! (face Annie, then watch actors.)
(Mother, Father enter holding Boy’s hand, start to pray.)
ANNIE: Once there was a little boy who wouldn’t say his prayers, (Boy acts up. Mother sends him off.)
And when he went to bed at night, away upstairs, (Parents mime serious talk, start to exit other side.)
His mommy heard him holler (Yell, mother turns), and his daddy heard him bawl, (Cry, Parents run towards)
And when they turned the covers down, he wasn’t there at all! (Parents exit, return with ripped blanket)
And they sought him in the rafter room, and cubbyhole, and press, (parents search stage)
And sought him up the chimney flue, and everywhere, I guess;
But all they ever found was just his pants and roundabout! (find his chewed clothes or pajamas.)
Because the Gobble-ins will get you (Mother sobs in Father’s arms, Exit.)

CHILDREN (facing audience): If You Don’t Watch Out! (face Annie, then watch actors)
(Parents Enter with Bad Girl, mime telling her to behave)
ANNIE: Another time a little girl would always laugh and grin, (Parents scold, girl sassy faces)
And make fun of everyone, and all her blood and kin, (Girl points at parents, imitates)
And once when there was company, and old folks was there, (Old Folks Enter, knock, Parents greet)
She mocked them and she shocked them and she said she didn’t care (Girl flips up skirt wiggles butt.)
But as she kicked her heels, and turned to run and hide, (Old Folks shocked, Girl spins and runs)
A Great Big Scary Black Thing was a-standin’ by her side, (Girl runs past and Black Thing rises)
And it snatched her through the ceiling ‘fore she could turn about! (Thing lifts her to shoulder, spins)
Yes, the Gobble-ins will get you (Girl screams & kicks as Black Thing exits w/her. Adults aghast, exit.)

CHILDREN (face audience): If You Don’t Watch Out! (Children walk downstage again.)
(Children are fearful. Annie watches mysteriously, pleased.)
CHILD 1: And little Orphan Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
And the lamp wick sputters, and the wind goes woo-oo!

CHILD 2: And you hear the crickets quit, and the moon is gray,
And the lightning bugs in dew are all squenched away –

CHILD 3: You better mind your parents, and your teachers fond and dear,
And cherish those who love you, and dry the orphan’s tear,

CHILD 4: And help the poor and needy ones who cluster all about,
Or the Gobble-ins will get you

CHILDREN: If You Don’t Watch Out!
(Notes: As the orphan, Annie does all the work. Scaring the kids is her revenge. Original had “Two Great Big Black Things”. )
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