FAMILY MUSICAL: ANNIE: Show Review by Robin Gorman Newman

 ANNIE, the new Broadway production of the Tony Award®-winning musical, opened November 8 at the Palace Theatre (Broadway at 47th Street in NYC).

 ANNIE features a book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin, with all three authors receiving 1977 Tony Awards® for their work.  ANNIE is directed by Pulitzer Prize and three-time Tony Award®-winner James Lapine and choreographed by Tony Award®-winner Andy Blankenbuehler.  

ANNIE stars Tony Award® winner Faith Prince as Miss Hannigan, Australian star Anthony Warlow making his Broadway debut as Daddy Warbucks and 11-year-old Lilla Crawford as Annie, with Brynn O’Malley as Grace Farrell, Clarke Thorell as Rooster Hannigan, and J. Elaine Marcos as Lily St. Regis.  The Orphans are Madi Rae DiPietro as July, Georgi James as Pepper, Junah Jang as Tessie, Tyrah Skye Odoms as Kate, Taylor Richardson as Duffy, Emily Rosenfeld as Molly and Jaidyn Young as standby for the roles of Annie, Pepper, Duffy and July.  The production also features Ashley Blanchet, Jane Blass, Jeremy Davis, Fred Inkley, Merwin Foard, Joel Hatch, Amanda Lea LaVergne, Gavin Lodge, Liz McCartney, Desi Oakley, Keven Quillon, David Rossetti, Sarah Solie, Dennis Stowe and Ryan VanDenBoom.

The original production of ANNIE opened April 21, 1977 at the Alvin Theatre and went on to win the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, seven Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the Grammy for Best Cast Show Album and seven Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score.  The show was one of the biggest Broadway musical hits of the 1970s, running for almost six years and playing 2,377 performances. 

The score for ANNIE includes “Maybe,” “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile,” “Easy Street,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You” and the eternal anthem of optimism, “Tomorrow”.  Annie  is a textbook example of what a great score and story can do for a show.  So many musicals these days, while entertaining, are far from memorable, particularly the music, but ANNIE stays with you…..really, forever.  I recall seeing it years ago with my parents, and Andrea McArdle was a wonderful Annie (likely the best of them all), and Dorothy Loudon as Miss. Hannigan won a Tony and left an indellible imprint on the role.  She was a bawdy broad with impressive pipes and physical comedy who brought the house down.  To watch her perform Little Girls is a case book study in comedic theatricality.

Ms. Prince puts her own spin on the Miss. Hannigan character, and she’s a delight to watch.  Crawford is sweet ‘n sassy and makes for an appealing Annie. Brynn O’Malley as Miss. Farrell delivered.  Clarke Thorell as Rooster and J. Elaine Marcos made for a likeable, devious, partner in crime team. The orphan actresses are a talented, adorable crew……Emily Rosenfeld as Molly was super cute. And, Sandy the dog does his canine best to impress, and scores.

 If you’ve never seen the show before, it is a classic must-see.  And, if you’re an existing ANNIE fan, it will feel like a trip down memory lane, and one worth taking.

The creative team of the new production include sscenic design byDrama Desk Award-winner David Korins, costume design by Tony Award-winner Susan Hilferty, lighting design by two-time Tony Award-winner Donald Holder and sound design by Tony Award-winner Brian Ronan.  Projection design is by Wendall K. Harrington.  Music director is Todd Ellison.  Orchestrations are by Michael Starobin.  Dance music arrangements are by Alex Lacamoire.  Musical coordinator is Patrick Vaccariello.  Hair and wig design is by Tom Watson.  Casting is by Telsey + Company.  Animal training is by William Berloni.   

ANNIE is produced on Broadway by Arielle Tepper Madover, Roger Horchow, Sally Horchow, Roger Berlind, Roy Furman, Debbie Bisno, Stacey Mindich, Nederlander Presentations, Inc., Jane Bergère/Daryl Roth and Eva Price/Christina Papagjika.   

Visit  January 5th is the final performance.




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