Thursday, December 18, 2014

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NY1 Theater Review: "Annie"

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Little orphan Annie has made her way back on stage in a new revival of the classic musical "Annie." NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.

Is it the best Annie I've ever seen? No. But will that matter to target audiences seeking family friendly entertainment? You bet your bottom dollar it won’t!

Yes, that adorable little orphan girl with the adult sized pipes is back, and boy can she sing. Little Lilla Crawford is sensational and she leads a pack of equally talented pint-sized cuties.

But it’s a mixed bag after that. Miss Hannigan, always reliable comic relief, is curiously not so funny here. Katie Finneran, who knocked our socks off in her Tony winning cameo as a lush in "Promises, Promises," is playing a similar character, but for some reason, she's pushing so hard the performance is labored.

And the choreography is lackluster. Choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, who won a Tony for his hip-hop moves in "In The Heights" seems to be rehashing those pop and lock robotics here but it all feels culturally out of place in this depression era story.

The songs by Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin are a joy to hear again, and everyone from Sandy the dog and tiny Molly is in fine voice. Especially winning is Anthony Warlow as Daddy Warbucks. The Aussie opera star is a commanding yet warm presence whose acting skills are matched by an incredible vocal range.

Director James Lapine deserves credit for attempting some innovative re-thinking, but the staging is uneven. And if the orphan girls struggle with their New York accents, they make up for it with plenty of collective spunk. While it's impossible to kill the charm of Charles Meehan's sweet and salty book, the show lacks the joyful abandon of previous outings.

Bottom line, the sun still comes out for this Annie even though it's clouded with missteps. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP