Thursday, April 9, 2015

An Amazing Annie

'Little Girls' shine in this wonderful production of Annie

It's always great to see old musical favorites get a spit-shine. The lovely new production of Annie at the Orpheum does just that.

This is a magical cast, beginning with the headliner. Issie Swickle is capital A Awesome as Annie, with a crystal clear voice and near perfect pitch that will break your heart. She's exceptional on every song; it's hard to pick a favorite, but if you twisted my arm I'd give it to "Maybe" and "I Don't Need Anything But You."

Her castmates are equally fabulous; this is a super, super strong group of little girls. Each of them has fully individualized her character, and their youthful but strong voices put a spring in the show's step.

The grownups are great too. Gilgamesh Taggett is gruffly winning as Oliver Warbucks, and Lynn Andrews puts all thoughts of Carol Burnett out of your mind as she swills her way through Miss Hannigan. Even supporting members such as Garret Deagon (Rooster Hannigan) and Ashley Edler (Grace Farrell) are terrific.

The pit is very tight as it carries each performer through the show, and the sets and pacing are well edited to keep the plot moving. It's worth noting that this production is slightly different from both the original movie and the new one; expect to see some small differences in the plot and songs.

It's always nice when a show surprises you, and this Annie did. I've seen several versions of the show and it had become somewhat careworn for me, but this beautifully executed production and spunky cast lent a whole new shimmer - in fact, it may be my favorite show so far this season. If you have a chance, make sure you see it. For more information about Annie and other coming shows, click on this link.