From the time I was a little girl, I loved the movie Annie. I watched it so much I wore out the tape (yes, it was on a tape). I still have a special place in my heart for Annie, so when Celebrity Parents Magazine first approached Toni Ann Gisondi (who played “Molly” in the film), to be on our Valentine’s Day 2009 cover, we were thrilled when she agreed.
The response to Toni Ann’s cover was so great, that it got us thinking. What if we reunited all of the orphans from the film together? Surely, this had been done before. But…it hadn’t. After months of planning, researching and several hundred phone calls and emails later, Celebrity Parents is delighted to present our Annie Reunion issue to you.
We shot the cover in New Jersey at Monmouth University’s Woodrow Wilson Hall. Wilson Hall served as the location for Daddy Warbucks’ mansion in the film. The mansion was simply breathtaking; it looked exactly how it did in the movie, from the Grand Staircase right up to the Tiffany ceilings. Every where you looked, you could see scenes from the movie.
Mansion aside, the greatest part of the shoot was meeting and working with the actresses. We had met Rosanne Sorrentino (who played “Pepper”) outside with her daughters Bridget and Sarah. Truth be told, I had always been a little afraid of Pepper, since she was so tough in the film! Well, not only is Rosanne one of the nicest people I’ve met, but she’s also a wee thing! Standing only at five foot one inch, I totally towered over her!
Toni Ann Gisondi arrived next, with her super likeable husband Ted, mom Linda, and her two daughters, Molly and Melody. Toni Ann still looks like Molly to me, and I think I must have called her Molly a few times during the shoot! (Sorry, Toni Ann!).
Then, Aileen Quinn arrived with her mom, Helenann. Meeting Aileen Quinn was not just a dream come true for the 9 year-old in me, but for my 6 year-old daughter, Elizabeth, too. You see, Elizabeth is now obsessed with Annie, and getting to meet her idol was awesome. You know I had to photograph the moment…
We had a wonderful shoot. Aileen, Toni Ann, and Rosanne spent a while chatting and catching up. We all marveled at how Toni Ann, once the youngest of all the orphans, was now the tallest of the three! The actresses were then whisked away to hair and makeup while we set up the shots. In the meantime, all of our children played together, racing up and down the staircase, and having the best game of Hide and Seek ever (can you imagine how many hiding spots there were in the mansion?!)
Of course, we had to shoot the actresses on the Grand Staircase, where, in the film, Aileen danced to “I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here”. Our Sandy, who was brilliantly played by Charlie, was a wonderful added touch to the cover shot.
Our Annie cover shoot was a magical day for us, and left us with many beautiful memories. Our hope is that this issue, and the beauty of the film Annie, brings back many lovely memories for you, too.