Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Annie"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

entire contents copyright 2006 by Tony Annicone


Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The Players first show of their 98th season is the 1977 hit musical, "Annie". Based on Harold Gray's comic strip "Little Orphan Annie", it won seven Tony Awards and ran for 2,377 performances. This high energy show is a hit again with this audience. It has excellent and insightful direction and choreography by Adam Crowe and topnotch musical direction by Stephen Decesare. This multitalented and hard working cast turn it into one of the must see shows of this fall season.

Adam blocks and choreographs the show beautifully especially "Hard Knock Life", "Fully Dressed" and "Easy Street". He creates special scenes with his performers that the audience can savor. Adam not only directs and choreographs this show but stepped in at the last moment to play Miss Hannigan. He is hilarious in this role, wearing a red wig, high heels and some campy, colorful outfits. His "Little Girls" number is a hoot when he twist off a dolls head and "Easy Street" is one of the best numbers in the show. Bravo on a job well done on both sides of the stage. Stephen's music is beautiful and he and his five piece orchestra do a wonderful job with the entire score. He taught the songs to his talented cast and they all show off their strong voices due to his direction. Adam is assisted by hard working stage manager, Iain Lawson who keeps everything running smoothly during the show. He is assisted by Cait Calvo and Karen Kalunian. Leading the cast is eleven year old, Brooke E. Friday as Annie. She shows off her strong belting singing voice in "Maybe", "Tomorrow", "NYC", the two servant songs and in the duet, "I Don't Need Anything". Brooke handles her comic moments wonderfully and makes you choke up in her dramatic scenes, too.

Dennis Bouchard is fantastic as Daddy Warbucks. He commands the stage in all his scenes. Dennis' comic timing is perfect but it is his dramatic moments that will tug at heartstrings. His transition from hardboiled businessman into loving, caring adoptive parent is done with ease and his fabulous voice sells his numbers including "NYC" where he and Grace introduce Annie to the sights of the Big Apple, the touching ballad "Why Should I Change A Thing" where he wonders if he should adopt Annie because he can't remember being a child, the poignant "Something Was Missing" where he realizes that Annie is a wonderful addition to his life and the joyous duet "I Don't Need Anything" where he and Annie realize they need each other. Warbuck's secretary Grace is played by Kim Kalunian, a senior in high school. Her fabulous soprano voice soars in "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here", "NYC", "You Won't Be An Orphan for Long", "Annie" and "Maybe" where she admits her feelings for Warbucks. (Frank Borrelli shines as the Star to Be in "NYC" with his strong belting voice.) Playing the villains of the show are Dan Colbert and Sharon Carpentier as Rooster and Lily St. Regis. His portrayal of this sleazy and slimy guy and her portrayal as the not to bright bimbo are wonderful as are their disguises as the phony parents of Annie. (The pillow stuffed in his raincoat is a hoot.) Dan and Sharon show off their strong voices and dancing skills in "Easy Street" with Adam.

The singing and dancing orphans in the show are excellent. They show off their skills in "Hard Knock Life", "Fully Dressed" and "Tomorrow" finale. These talented girls are Nicole Cayer, ( great job as Pepper the tough orphan) Emily Garven, Sarah Marie Gibson, Amber Rose Johnson, Lauren Matthias, Sadie Palmer, Demetria Rowan and Abby Spare who plays Molly, the youngest orphan steals many scenes she is in. Other adult cast members include Rick Bagley as FDR, Sue Bergeron, Rick Braun, Jonathan Garven, Nicole Jennings, Kristeen Kates, Peter Lamberton and Krista Weller. They play several roles and do topnotch work in the chorus numbers including the servant songs, "Hooverville" and "Tomorrow" reprise and finale. (Adam gives them some wonderful sthick to do during the show so be sure to keep your eye on them.) So for a splendid version of this well known show be sure to give Lydia a call so you can join this wonderful theatre club.

"Annie" (6 - 15 October)
Barker Playhouse, 400 Benefit Street, PROVIDENCE RI
1 (401) 273-0590

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide