An eventful night at “Annie” took place on September 24th. At the start of the show, Sadie Sink was scheduled to play the title role. However, after the orchestra started and the projections were playing, the show was stopped for 20 minutes. We soon found out Sadie got sick. Taylor Richardson (who also plays the title role) was in town filming the new “Annie” movie and rushed to the theater. Director, James Lapine (famous for his collaboration with Stephen Sondheim as well as winning multiple Tony awards) happened to be in the audience and came on stage to tell us what had gone wrong. After everything was cleared up, Taylor Richardson came out and sang her little heart out. Her vocal range was impeccable. She smiled throughout the show and was at ease despite the incident that happened earlier in the evening.
The choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler was somewhat odd. His “pop and locking” choreography worked well for “In the Heights”, however, seeing some of the same moves in “Annie” seemed out of place. Watching the little girls put their hands above their heads and turn around and shake their butts was one of the many awkward choices.
The set was somewhat storybook like. At the mansion, we saw a painting of a kitchen which opened up by one of the servants and then another painted room was in it’s place. Truly, like flipping pages of a book. This would work for a story play such as “Into the Woods”. Unfortunately, it gave it a bit of a cheap feel since we are supposed to be in a real mansion and not a make believe one. Projections were used a few times during the show which were debatable if they were really needed.
Understudy, Merwin Foard played Oliver Warbucks. His rich voice and engagement with Annie was special. Clarke Thorell who played Rooster did a commendable job playing the slimey brother of Miss Hannigan. His movement on stage was perfect for the part. Faith Prince, a Broadway legend in her own right for her Tony award winning performance of Adelaide in “Guys and Dolls”, recently stepped into the role of the cruel, Miss Hannigan. She played the part mean, yet comical. It was a good mix of both and a treat to see her on stage. The standout in the show for me was the Bert Healey and The Boylan Sisters song “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile”. It’s a charming tune and I’m always intrigued by a good tap number.
“Annie” is a perfect family friendly show. With many holidays coming up, it’s a great one to bring kids to. Buy your tickets now because it may get packed quickly. For further details check out: http://www.anniethemusical.com/