ANNIE has been around longer than most of us have been alive in one incarnation or another, however her most iconic existence to most of us is this beloved musical. Acting Naturally’s Wendy Force McBride did her best to capture the magic of ANNIE and bring her to life on stage. She succeeded wonderfully.
Zoe Necowitz (Annie) did a fabulous job as the adorable little orphan girl. Her voice was wonderful and she was very good with her choreography. She pulled off the charm of Annie wonderfully, definitely seeming to be the type of child who could charm Grace into adopting her. The rest of her orphan friends at Miss Hannigan’s were also all very adorable. Laura Tirendi (Molly) was a little scene stealer but all of the orphans were great. These talented little girls carried my personal favorite musical number (“Hard Knock Life”) with greatly executed choreography and singing.
David Danner (President Roosevelt) was hilarious and kindly. Jonathan Knapp (Oliver Warbucks) was perfectly cast, his deep and beautiful voice were fantastic throughout and he had great chemistry with Necowitz. Aimee Miller (Grace) had a great singing voice and was quite funny, but dropped multiple lines during the night. Steven Tirendi was a hilarious Rooster, and really shone brightly in his scenes. Harriet Zeff (Miss Hannigan) was terrifically fantastic at playing the drunken, despicable Miss Hannigan. Roseann Enwright (Lily) was casting perfection. Her ditzy character stole the show every time she walked on stage.
If the children of the show were the picture, and the adult characters were the paint, then the adult and older children ensemble were the canvas that made it possible for the picture to be painted. They pulled off scenes that are easily forgettable usually, such as Hooverville, and they also were the stage crew, quickly rushing on stage in the background to rotate set pieces and dress the stage. All of the ensemble did a fantastic job of making ANNIE come to life on stage.
Stephen Casey’s choreography for the show was very well done, the rotating flats in the background were all used to good effect. The costumes as a whole were quite well except for the wig Annie uses for most the show, it just didn’t look natural or iconic. The dresses the Orphans are in at the end of the show all matched beautifully and really made me think back to the comic strip.
ANNIE is a wonderful story and the cast really did a fantastic job of trying to bring it to life on stage.
Book: Thomas Meehan
Music: Charles Strouse
Lyrics: Martin Charnin
Director: Wendy Force McBride
Music Director: Bob Kashinsky
Choregrapher: Stephen Casey
November 21-24, 2013
at Richboro Middle School Auditorium
98 Upper Holland Rd.
Richboro, PA. 18954
I just have to add that Aimee Miller stepped in valiantly to assume the role of Grace just two weeks before the show went up, as our former Grace had a family emergency.