Of the many times I’ve seen this production done, (a national tour in the 90s, once at the Omaha Community Playhouse, and one production where I even had the opportunity to play Lily St. Regis,) I know it inside and out and it never ceases to entertain and inspire. The national tour of Annie does not disappoint. It’s a holiday spectacular, a family friendly fanfare classic in the musical theatre catalogue, still iconic as ever and going strong for more than forty-five years.
“It’s The Hardknock Life,” is a theatrically satisfying, a number well-choreographed by Patricia Wilcox, a clever juxtaposition of spotlights and buckets slamming down simultaneously as the orphans lament about their plot in life. The Hooverville ensemble is always fun to watch as a ragtag gang of derelicts stickit to the man in the oval office. I especially enjoyed the rousing “NYC,” as the Great White Way came to life. “Easy Street,” was a sultry treat with clever choreography, and “Tomorrow,” was ever inspiring as opposing parties came together to better their future.
Ellie Pulsifer as Annie is a delight with her portrayal of Annie, full of spunk and determination as she embarks on a quest to find her parents.Stephanie Londino as Miss Hannegin plays her character to the hilt, over the top and comically endearing. Nick Bernardi and Krista Curry as the con artist team Rooster and Lily St. Regis are a hoot. Annie showcases many character parts that are highlighted throughout, and they add a fun, dynamic element to a cast primarily of kids. Even the Boylan Sisters stood out to me with their perfected, in sync movements as they sang lovely harmonies in unison.
Julia Nicole Hunter played Grace with sophisticated poise, a demurely gorgeous lilting soprano. Her elegant gown in Act II is a stunner and a breathtaking moment.
One of my favorite aspects of the show has to be the magnificent set. Gorgeous tall columns with pristine décor and furniture outfit the scene, depicting the interior of a billionaire’s mansion. It’s a sight to see. All of the company numbers glisten with panache, glamorously brightening the stage.
Annie runs through November 13th at the Orpheum Theatre.