A grey scale of shanty houses and a bowl of stew heating over a garbage can, were shaddowed overhead by an impressive silhouette of the Brooklyn bridge, which seemed to reach out into the audience. A grey scale, overtaken by the optimism that belonged to a familiar little-red headed girl. Smart, sassy, and always dressed with a smile, Annie (played by Issie Swickle) could sing her way into any audience member’s heart. This image of a broken America was one of the fabulous images that took the Orpheum Stage by storm this past Tuesday night. This cute show is a perfect way for any new theatre enthusiast (I mean that 8 year old that is now absolutely obsessed with the show) or any old face to the theatre. Though at two and a half hours, might not be a great choice for our younger audience members.
In a contrasting world there were Mona Lisas and expansive gilded and green rooms, showing the impressive amount of wealth that the few in 1930’s America achieved. Yet amongst this, was the unhappy face of Oliver Warbucks, (Gilgamesh Taggett) but similar to the Hooverville she experienced at the beginning of the show, the bouncing red bob cut spread joy to a world that needed it, including our own. Annie, in this traveling production shows us that happiness can transcend wealth and poverty alike, making it an great show for any age.
That isn’t to say that there weren’t flaws in the show itself. One awkwardly hanging sign, that was unable to find it’s way down to the correct spot in space, or a missing side to the set can really make or break a show. Not to mention not seeing the actor’s faces, unless they were in a musical number, or delivering a super cheesy line. This show might also have been a bit easier to enjoy if we could see all the actors, there always seemed to be a couple people lost on the ends of the stage, as the whole show was practically lit with spotlights.
These problems often paled in comparison to the strengths in this show, mainly in the music department. The classics are in great hands, a bright young tone for Annie, and a fun loud Miss Hannigan (Lynn Andrews.) Accompanied by a loud, driving, beautiful orchestra that pulled the show right along, both the singing and the music were loud and incharge, without drowning the other out.
All in all, Annie was an adorable production that deserves a lot of praise, because what the production did well, it was amazing. Great use of sets, music, cute children, and talented adults, mean a great value for you and the family. This is one of those shows making you feel happier than when you came, only showing the contagious optimism of the leading girl in the show.