A few weeks ago my daughter and I headed into the city to see Annie the Musical. It’s a show that I grew up with, like everyone else, and I was desperate to watch the look on my daughter’s face as she watched it for the first time. It’s also a show that everyone from my generation remembers seeing for the first time and one who’s words to every song we know by heart.
Director James Lapine has brought this new version of the musical to the Palace Theatre and there’s nothing not to like about it. For me, it provided a sense of nostalgia; for my daughter, it provided a night of fun, music she loves and joy emanating from her mother.
Lilla Crawford plays the lead role with confidence. She has terrific stage presence and a lovely singing voice, her only fault being her forced New York accent (she’s from California) which is at times a bit much and could be toned down. When she sang “Tomorrow”, after meeting her dog, Sandy, in a town no other than NYC with the Brooklyn Bridge in the background, I have to admit I was mesmerized and nostalgic for days. Her voice is powerful and strong and belts out the songs we all know and grew up with with zest. The girls in the orphanage are not quite as good as Annie, but they managed to steal my attention during renditions of “It’s the Hard Knock Life”, though a few seemed miscast (I’m not pin pointing anyone here out of respect for this ensemble). Despite reviews about Kate Finneran being wrong for the part as Mrs. Hannigan, I thoroughly enjoyed her portrayal of the nasty caretaker of the orphanage, and Anthony Warlow plays a dapper and cool Daddy Warbucks.
Not only is this story one from my childhood and one that I introduced to my kids several years ago, but it’s a story with meaning and purpose. I like that it tells the story about an innocent girl in search of her real parents and her strong desire to be loved. We all need to stop and take a look at what we have and be grateful.
I also think that this is a show that NYC can use right now. We need the sun to come out tomorrow. We’ve had a tough few weeks and it’s not getting easier. There’s nothing wrong with a night on the town for any of us right now, to take our mind off the tragedy that struck us in our beloved city and beyond. It’s not a tragedy that we can or should forget, but a distraction won’t hurt anyone.
This Annie is a salute to both the city, its history (the Great Depression) and it’s what we need right now in NYC.
“Annie” plays at the Palace Theatre on Broadway and 47th St. Call 877-250-2929 or visit anniethemusical.com.
Disclosure: I was compensated with two tickets to facilitate my review via the folks at MamaDrama, the network that I co-own but all opinions are my own.