You won’t find anyone full of more optimism and spunk than a little red headed orphan named Annie. Currently playing at Minneapolis’ Orpheum Theatre, Annie is a musical full of heart and pure joy for audiences of all ages.
With director and lyricist Martin Charnin at the helm (he has directed Annie 19 times, including the original Broadway production in 1977), this touring production is high-spirited, engaging, crisp and full of superb performances.
As Annie, Issie Swickle is impeccable as the title character. Despite spending her childhood living in the orphanage under the tutelage of Miss Hannigan (Lynn Andrews), the tipsy orphanage matron, Annie keeps her head held high and holds on to the hope her parents will be back for her.
After escaping when Mr. Bundles (Brian Cowing) picks up the laundry, Annie is soon returned by the cops with perfect timing to meet Grace Farrell (Ashley Elder), assistant to billionaire Daddy Warbucks (Gilgamesh Taggett), who has come in search of an orphan to join the family for Christmas. From there Annie is introduced to a world of indulgence she could only dream of.
The girls portraying the orphans are not just adorable, but a force to be reckoned with. Their musical number as a group, “It’s the Hard Knock Life” is a show stopper. As the littlest and most inquisitive orphan, Molly, Lilly Mae Stewart is a scene stealer.
With a show like Annie, which has been around for decades, it would be easy for this show to feel worn and tired. But this is not the case. The show feels fresh and as though you are seeing it for the first time even if you’ve seen it a million times.
You can’t help by smile when you hear the familiar tunes of Annieand this production is no exception.
For more information the show, visit Hennepin Theatre Trust’s website.