Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Annie"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2004 by Tony Annicone

"Annie"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Bay Colony Production's current show at their newly purchased Orpheum Theater in Foxboro is the 1977 hit musical, "Annie". Based on the comic strip, Little Orphan Annie, this high energy show is lead by a multitalented little girl, Kaitlyn Buscone. It is fantastic from start to finish and contains some of the highest production values possible. Director/choreographer, Marianne Lonati chooses 57 topnotch people for this show and music director, Rob Goldman obtains the highest quality vocal sound from each and everyone of them, making this version of "Annie" into a must see show of this season. A standing ovation rewarded the talents of all people who make this show the success it is.

Marianne's blocking, choreography and direction of this huge cast is splendid. Each scene is a picture postcard moment with both the children and adult's scenes. The "Hard Knock Life" and "Never Fully Dressed" kid dance numbers really shine as do the servant numbers and the Hooverville song, too. the multitude of gorgeous costumes are by the talented Dan Kozar. The Warbucks mansion, the many backdrops and orphanage sets designed by Ed DiMarzio and Michael Teixeira are beautiful and Michael as production manager keeps the scenes constantly moving, creating seamless transitions from one to another. Ed's sound design is wonderful as is the light design by Michael. Steve Goldman, Rob's brother and Jay Walden run the many spotlight cues during the night. Rob not only taught this huge cast the songs but also the outstanding harmonies in them. He plays the keyboards and conducts a Broadway style orchestra with outstanding trumpet and violin parts in the show. Bravo for a well coordinated team effort to bring out the best in this show. (The show is dedicated to the memory of Phil Goldman, Rob's dad who passed away this past week. He would have been very proud of his talented son.)

Kaitlyn Buscone, a 12 year old, sings her numbers wonderfully especially "Maybe", "Tomorrow" and the joyful duet, "I Don't Need Anything" as well as in the chorus songs with the kids and adults, too. She handles the comic moments with ease with Miss Hannigan and the others but it is her dramatic scenes that will leave you in tears. The locket scene with Daddy Warbucks and her leaving the mansion scene in Act 2 are perfect where she cries on cue and says her lines with a choked up voice, displaying the skill of an actress beyond her years. Brava on a job well done.

The talented, Chris DiOrio shines as Daddy Warbucks. His comic and dramatic moments are superb. His transition from the hardboiled businessman into a loving, caring adoptive parent is done with ease and his dynamic voice sells his love of the city in "NYC", the poignant, "Something Was Missing" and the joyous duet "I Don't Need Anthing" with Kaitlyn.Warbucks secretary, Grace is well played by Kristen Almechatt who has a fantastic soprano voice which soars in "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here", "NYC", (with strong belter Matt Whitman as the star to be) "You Won't Be An Orphan for Long" and "A New Deal For Christmas" with Chris and a strong chorus who have some fabulous voices, too.Carol Gallagher is a hoot as the mean spirited, heavy drinking, Miss Hannigan. Her gestures and facial expressions are right on the money and her solo, "Little Girls" is wonderful. (Loved where she choked a doll on her desk during it.)Carol shows off her dance moves in "Easy Street" duet and trio with Michael Templeton as her brother, Rooster and Laurie Davis as his girlfriend, Lily St. Regis. Michael is appropriately sleazy and slimy as the villainous attempted kidnapper and Laurie's high pitched dumb blonde portrayal is wonderful.

Playing Annie and the lead orphans are alternating girls. The girls I saw as lead orphans were Meghan Fitton, Mary Doyle, Allison Ristaino, Emily Garven, Maggie Barzin and Shannon Milewski. (Casey Accardi is the other Annie) Not only can these girls act but their singing and dancing shine in their songs, too. 9 other girls play the chorus orphans showing off their talent as well. Some of the other roles include Brian Gustafson as Bert Healy and Harold Ickes where he gets to show off his tenor voice, the lovely Boylan sisters are played by Kristen Quarterone, Madelyn Frascella and Allicia Lawson, FDR is well played by Paul Warner and Matthew Smith plays the stuffy, British butler, Drake who does a hitch kick which is hilarious and also get to show off his voice in thr "Annie" song. The rest of the cast do great job in this show, too. So for an excellent rendition of "Annie" that at times topped the 1977 Broadway version, be sure to catch Bay Colony's show. You will be glad you did.

"Annie" ( 5 - 21 November )
BAY COLONY PRODUCTIONS
The Orpheum Theater, 1 School Street, FOXBORO MA
1 (508) 543- ARTS

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