Theatre ReviewsTom Williams

Annie – The National Tour

Book by Thomas MeehanAnnie national tour

Music by Charles Strouse

Lyrics by Martin Charnin

Directed by Martin Charnin

Choreographer Liza Gennaro

Musical Direction by Adam Jones

At the Auditorium Theatre

Annie comes alive once more—and pleases

No matter how many times I’ve seen Annie, I always enjoy the show. Why? Because of the great tunes or because I like cartoon fables with a fine message? Annie is a warm, sweet old-time Broadway musical with lots of heart. That may be enough. The optimism in Annie is contagious.

annie national tour

Leapin’ Lizards! America’s most beloved musical, Annie, is back, playing at the Auditorium through January 24, 2010 giving a whole new generation the chance to experience this classic musical about never giving up. The many young girls in the audience were mesmerized by Annie. This ageless 1930’s fable is beloved as a classic old-time Broadway musical that leaves you humming the melodies as you leave the theatre.

Annie And Sandy

Annie, with music by Charles Strouse and book by Thomas Meehan, is again directed by its lyricist, Martin Charnin, who brought the original production of Annie to Broadway in 1977

Tony Award winning set designer, Ming Cho Lee, has created a fresh look for this new production. The 8 member orchestra sounded terrific proving that live musicians sound better than canned music. This national touring production is a sort of Annie lite with fewer children and fewer ensemble members than most productions I’ve seen

Cast of Annie national tour

This Annie has, talented children led by the strong presence of Madison Kerth as Annie. She wins us over quickly as she leads the kids in “It’s the Hard-Knock Life.” Her strong voice allowed her to nail the keynote song “Tomorrow” that is most identified with this musical.

Lynn Andrews plays the child-hating Miss Hannigan with desperate comic aplomb. Andrews is the hilarious villain we all love.  David Barton, as Daddy Warbucks, has the command of the stage and the booming vocals with loads of heart that gives the billionaire credibility.  The ensemble is filled with veteran song and dance players that are so smooth that they seem to glide across the stage deftly nailing their songs and short quips. The make up for their lack of numbers with smart work.

This tightly polished production has enough energy and a swift pace that propels its warmth, charm and cuteness directly into our hearts. The songs are catchy, period perfect and universal.

Who doesn’t know “Easy Street” and the signature song of eternal optimism “Tomorrow”? Charles Strouse’s score is filled with 30’s style Broadway songs like “N.Y.C,” “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” and “Maybe.”

Take your little girls to experience Annie, they’ll love you forever. This production is charming and full of heart.


Tom Williams

At the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress, Chicago, IL, call 800-775-2000, , tickets $2- to $75, Wed Jan. 20, at 2 & 7:30 pm, Thurs Jan. 21 at 7:30 pm, Friday, Jan. 22 at 8 pm. Saturday, Jan. 23 at 2 & 8 pm, Sunday, Jan. 24 at 2 pm

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