Who among us hasn’t attended a production of Annie? From Broadway to community theater and school musicals, it is one of the most popular and produced Broadway shows in history. Since its opening on Broadway in 1977, The New York Times estimates that “Annie” is performed between 700 and 900 times each year: That’s a lot of orphans.
Broadway’s favorite red-headed optimist and her gang of plucky urchins are back onstage at Dr. Phillips, and it’s a delight to witness a whole new generation of young theatergoers experience this classic for the first time.
Based on the comic strip from the 1920s, the musical score from “Annie” features one rousing song after another, like “Hard Knock Life,” “Maybe” and “Tomorrow,” just to name a few. From the time the lights dim and the orchestra plays its first few notes, the pace of the show is non-stop, enjoyable fun.
Rainier (Rainey) Treviño as our feisty heroine has a stellar voice and the necessary pluck required for the role. She brings just the right balance of spunk and angst to the part and seems to become stronger with each scene.
Christopher Swan’s Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks is a dapper yet sincere billionaire. His chemistry with the elegant Grace Farrell (Julia Nicole Hunter) was enjoyable, their voices blending beautifully in each number.
The nefarious Miss Hannigan (Stefanie Londino) shines as she brings a delightful malevolence to the drunken, unscrupulous villain. The dastardly stakes are amped as Rooster and Lily (Jeffry T. Kelly, Samantha Stevens) join Miss Hannigan in the bawdy number “Easy Street.”
As in every production of “Annie,” it’s the orphans that steal the show, and this production was no exception. They emanate pure joy and multi-watt energy in every scene. Another audience favorite is Sandy, Annie’s dog, played by the cuddly Georgie.
Directed by Jenn Thompson, an original Pepper on Broadway, the production is like visiting an old friend but with a modern flair.
There is a good reason “Annie” has been an audience favorite for 46 years. It’s a heartwarming show filled with optimism. And in times like these, we all need the reminder that the sun will come out tomorrow.
Based on “Little Orphan Annie”
Book by Thomas Meehan, Music by Charles Strouse, Lyrics by Martin Charnin
Wed., Oct. 25, 8 p.m., Thu., Oct. 26, 8 p.m., Fri., Oct. 27, 8 p.m., Sat., Oct. 28, 2 & 8 p.m. and Sun., Oct. 29, 1 & 6:30 p.m.