Leapin’ lizards Anchorage, it’s “Annie!” If opening night of the long-time running Broadway hit musical “Annie” is any indication of what’s in store for theatre-goers in the days ahead, then surely they’ll be begging more then Sandy, the canine star, would be for a choice bone or two.
“Annie,” which opened Wednesday for a six-day, eight performance run, leaped right off the comic strip pages of the newspaper and straight into the hearts and minds before a packed Atwood Theatre in the Performing Arts Center. The storyline for this light-hearted, timeless production takes place in New York City in the early 1930’s.
The play “Annie” is an adaptation of “Little Orphan Annie” from comic strip fame, created in 1924. The Broadway show “Annie”, which nearly ran for six years, made its debut in 1977. The movie by the same name hit the big screen in 1982.
In her national tour debut, Madison Kerth, who stars as the 11-year-old, street-smart orphan, is as spunky as the comic strip character she mirrors on stage. Kerth and her red-headed curls light up the auditorium in this presentation, as you hopelessly fall in love with her as did Annie’s billionaire companion, “Daddy” Warbucks. Kerth captures the audience with her singing, dancing and acting as does her demure character in the Sunday newspaper.
David Barton delivers a homerun punch in his portrayal of Warbucks, the crusty, yet teddy-bear like character who leads an exhaustive, but fruitless search for Annie’s real parents, eventually adopting her as his own. The crowd warms to Barton who makes Warbucks so real that you wonder if he and his money might save today’s economic woes.
From the opening curtain, to the cast’s final bows, the audience is treated to the multi-talents of Lynn Andrews, who plays the “lovable” Miss Hannigan, the orphanage matron who can bark out orders like a Marine drill sergeant in boot camp with the best of them.
Never has any orphanage sounded better, then the likes of the girls from the New York Municipal Orphanage on St. Mark’s Place. Their vivaciousness would make anyone want to give them all a permanent home. The ensemble of youngsters belted out song and dance numbers matched only by veterans of numerous Broadway shows.
Yes, even Sandy, who didn’t have a speaking part, gave a doggone good performance.
The Anchorage presentation of “Annie” is certain to appeal to audience goers of all ages.
“Annie” is the winter remedy for any cabin fever you may be suffering from.
By bringing “Annie” to the 49th state, the Anchorage Concert Association has succeeded in topping itself by delivering first-rate entertainment to the north.
The musical’s iconic hits “Tomorrow” and “It’s the Hard Knock Life” found themselves to be huge crowd pleasers, witnessed by the participation of the audience during and the many that were mimicking the lyrics on the way out of the PAC.
Beginning in 2005, a 30th anniversary traveling production of “Annie” by Networks Tours embarked on a multi-city tour. However, because its immense popularity, the tour's initial 11-month run was extended into 2009. This production is directed by Martin Charnin.
“Annie” was nominated for 11 Tony Awards, and won seven, including, best musical and best original score, also earning other prestigious theatre awards.
Don’t feel like an orphan Anchorage if you missed the premier of “Annie.” There’s always tomorrow. Right, Sandy? Woof.