Charles Strouse originally wrote this as as "The Way We Live Now" for the 1970 short film Replay. It was reworked as "Tomorrow," with lyrics by Martin Charnin, for the Broadway musical Annie in 1977.
Andrea McArdle originated the role of the scrappy title orphan, derived from the 1924 comic strip Little Orphan Annie, on Broadway. While still in the rags part of her rags-to-riches tale, she sings "Tomorrow" as a hope for a brighter future.
This was an inspiration to a young Lauryn Hill, who first saw the musical when she was seven years old and learned all its songs by heart.
Aileen Quinn performed this in the 1982 film version of Annie
, starring opposite Albert Finney as Daddy Warbucks and Carol Burnett as Miss Hannigan. Jay-Z co-produced the 2014 adaptation with Quvenzhane Wallis in the lead role, along with Jamie Foxx as the wealthy benefactor, renamed Will Stacks, and Cameron Diaz as Hannigan. Jay-Z is no stranger to the story; he had a monumental hit in 2002 when he transformed "It's The Hard Knock Life
" into "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)
Matthew Perry cheerfully performed this on Friends in the season 8 episode "The One with the Tea Leaves." When he notices the rest of the friends looking at him curiously, he finishes the lyrics with a deep, masculine tone.
On the season three "Star Search" episode of Full House, Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) sang this when she was desperate to get a spot on the talent show, where Joey was performing his stand-up act. The rest of the equally desperate Tanners follow suit and take turns belting out the chorus. No one is impressed. Stephanie sings again later in the season in the episode "The Mr. Egghead Show" before being punched in the nose by a mechanical boxing glove.
Several artists recorded this throughout the '70s, including Grace Jones (with a disco flare), Barbra Streisand, The Manhattans, Lou Rawls, and Petula Clark
(on The Muppet Show
Actress Lea Salonga, who provided the singing voices for Disney princesses Jasmine and Fa Mulan, recorded this for her 1997 album, I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing.
Zach Galifianakis dressed as Annie and lip-synched this song during his opening monologue on Saturday Night Live in 2011.