December 1, 2012
Miss Hannigan’s sweet and endearing orphans are bringing sunshine and optimism to audiences at the Palace Theatre this holiday season in the latest revival of the beloved musical, Annie!
Synopsis: The year is 1933. The location is New York City. Seven lonely, mistreated orphans long for the warmth and love of a real home. Their dreams of having parents are dashed by the evil orphanage supervisor, Miss Hannigan, who despises “little girls”. One orphan, Annie, was left at the orphanage eleven years earlier with a locket and a note from her parents stating that they would return for her. Fed up with living the life of an orphan, Annie runs away from the orphanage in search of her parents, but is caught and returned to Miss Hannigan. However, Annie’s luck is about to change when billionaire Oliver Warbucks invites an orphan to spend the holidays at his mansion in order to improve his public image. Daddy Warbucks is quickly smitten with Annie and decides to adopt her, but Annie yearns to find her real parents. A generous reward offered for the whereabouts of Annie’s parents brings trouble in the form of greedy parent imposters and the envious Miss Hannigan. But all ends well when the imposters are revealed and Annie is adopted by Daddy Warbucks.
Comments: As the title role, 11 year old Lilla Crawford is charming and spunky with a voice that fills the colossal Palace Theatre- a great task for an eleven year old, but Lilla sings with ease and clarity. Lilla and Anthony Warlow as Daddy Warbucks have excellent chemistry, and their scenes together are delightful, especially the musical number, “I Don’t Need Anything But You”. Warlow is impeccable as the gruff billionaire whose persona softens as he is forever changed by an orphan. Katie Finneran portrays Miss Hannigan sympathetically, emphasizing the discontented, despairing, resentful, and slightly unstable side of the character, but nails the comedic timing as usual. Her interaction with the orphans, especially little Molly, was hilariously appalling, and although her character is loathsome, you love to hate her. Speaking of Molly, Emily Rosenfeld is the most adorable and endearing little girl on that stage, but all of the orphans are animated and energetic, stealing the show with dance numbers like “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile” and “It’s the Hard Knock Life”. Brynn O’Malley was perfection as Grace Farrell, and sang beautifully. Clarke Thorell and J. Elaine Marcos were very good as villains Rooster and Lily, although not particularly memorable- with that said, Annie is filled with so much heart and optimism that I don’t think Rooster and Lily are meant to be memorable. My favorite part of Annie was Sunny, the rescue dog who played Sandy. Who doesn’t love to see a dog on stage?
Check out Annie at the Palace Theatre for a surefire audience pleaser!