“It’s a hard knock life for us.” That’s the famous chant as sung by Parker, Colorado’s Random Acts of Theatre Company, or RATCO, in its recent play, “Annie Jr.”
This production is a special rendition of the Broadway musical “Annie,” a curly haired orphan adopted by a wealthy businessman. The Broadway play was written based on the popular 1970s newspaper comic Little Orphan Annie, and featured music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin. The original comic strip was created and written by Harold Gray. “Annie” has enjoyed many updates, including two motion pictures – the first starring Carol Burnett (1982), and most recently, Quvenzhane Wallis, Rose Bryne and Jamie Foxx (2014).
RATCo. is the flagship program of The Freedom Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that began in Parker, Colo., and extended to Selma, Alabama (and soon will extend to Atlanta, Ga.). With its energetic and prolific participants, RATCo aims to empower youth of all backgrounds, economic status, physical ability, race and ethnicity through teamwork, self-expression and by extolling the value of “giving back.”
Diversity and inclusion are hallmarks of RATCo.’s activity, and Annie Jr. seemed like the perfect avenue to impart this message.
“I believe that everybody has it in them to live with some kind of purpose. And I am so happy for the people that find it,” said Gwen Brown, president of The Freedom Foundation. “I know that we went to Selma just hoping we could help somebody maybe see things differently.”
Brown believes that expanding an individual’s world view has the potential to inspire people to surpass their limitations. She added that Freedom Foundation and RATCo. work to provide individuals to envision and achieve goals and think out of the box by allowing youth to see that life is bigger, America is bigger, the world is bigger and more diverse than each person’s local community.
The freedom foundation also exposes students to collegiate environments and as 500 – 600 college students visit the Freedom Foundation and work with RATCo. each year. College partnerships with Freedom Foundation include Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, the University of Wisconsin and others. “Sometimes what happens is that we have colleges that invite us to do RATCo. [at the campus],” said Brown.
By celebrating creativity and making each member truly feel like family, RATCo. and the Freedom Foundation truly are making a difference in the lives of youth, and in the world.
For more information on the Freedom Foundation, visit Culturs Global Multicultural magazine, at www.Culturs.guru, and search “Annie.”
Culturs.guru is a global multicultural philanthropic brand that brings lifestyle content to liminal identities – populations that are “culturally mobile,” and represent “hidden rather than “visual” diversity. This includes cross-cultured individuals, Third Culture Kids and multi-racial and multi-ethnic persons whose lives are punctuated by “straddling” of different cultures during their formative years. For more information, visit www.Culturs.guru.
Culturs TV programs are presented on dptv.denverpost.com through a partnership with The Denver Post.