Category: Broadway in Chicago
‘Billy Elliot’ shines
|Broadway in Chicago presents|
|Billy Elliot: The Musical|
|Book and lyrics by Lee Hall, music by Elton John
Directed by Stephen Daldry
At the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre
Open run (more info)
Reviewed by Leah A. Zeldes
After four Laurence Olivier Awards, ten Tony Awards and ten Drama Desk Awards, you don’t need me to tell you that Billy Elliot: The Musical is worth seeing. Time Magazine also named it the "Best musical of the decade," an assessment I don’t agree with — my vote goes to Urinetown — but I will say Billy Elliot has everything a good musical ought to have: Fine music, outstanding choreography and a heartwarming, if clichéd, story full of triumphs and pathos.
Having opened in London in 2005 and on Broadway in 2008, the acclaimed musical has finally come to Chicago, where a stellar cast does it full justice.
Based on Lee Hall’s screenplay for the 2000 film, the plot is one we’ve seen many times before — a talented youth, dancing to his own drummer, beats the odds and makes doubters accept him on his own terms.
In this case, it’s 11-year-old Billy Elliot, son of a British miner, amid the devastating 1984 Coal War in which labor lost its fight against Margaret Thatcher’s conservative government, destroying the miners’ union and all but ending coal mining in the U.K. Billy’s mother is dead; his grandmother is senile; his dad and older brother, Tony, are on strike, along with most of the men in their town; money is short and tempers are flaring. Sent to boxing class, Billy accidentally stumbles into a girls’ ballet lesson and discovers a love and talent for dancing — outraging the men in his life.
It’s a rollercoaster of a story, full of contrasts, at turns funny and sad, raucous and refined, exultant and despondent. Politics, class consciousness, the role of the arts vs. sports, sexual identity all come together, sometimes clashingly. If the bitter defeat of the strike seems an odd match for the bright jubilation of Billy’s triumph, well … it’s a musical.
Peter Darling’s dazzling choreography makes the most of the juxtapositions, as in the brilliantly effective sequences of warring police and angry strikers interspersed with little girls in tutus.
Performed by a first-rate orchestra, led by Colin Welford, Elton John’s score, with lyrics by Hall, also brings us some startling contrasts. It runs the gamut from cheerful music-hall ditties to rousing anthems to sad ballads, from joyous to silly to angry, sometimes even in the same song. In an excellent example, one of the few solos, "We’d Go Dancing," Billy’s grandmother — a splendid performance by Cynthia Darlow — recalls her unhappy married life.
On the silly side, we get "Expressing Yourself," a strange sequence in which Billy and his transvestite friend, Michael (played alternately by Keean Johnson and Gabriel Rush), don women’s clothes and then dance with giant headless dresses.
Then there’s the pure joy of "Electricity," Billy’s paean to dancing.
A rotating cast of four boys plays Billy. On opening night, 13-year-old Cesar Corrales showed dazzling talent as a dancer and actor. A breathtaking pas de deux with his older self (onetime Joffrey dancer Samuel Pergande) deservedly drew a standing ovation on opening night.
No one in this ensemble puts a foot wrong.
This musical contains adult language some parents may consider unsuitable for children.
Above: Artist rendering of reconfigured Broadway Playhouse
Coming Soon: “Traces”, “Working” and Sutton Foster
Get ready, Chicago, for Broadway in Chicago’s newest venue: the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place. Previously known as Drury Lane Water Tower, the space will join BIC’s current treasure-trove of venues: Cadillac Palace Theatre, Ford Center for the Performing Arts (aka Oriental Theatre) and Bank of America Theatre (aka Shubert Theatre). BIC has signed a long-term agreement with General Growth Properties (owner/manager of Water Tower Place) that will allow for the renovation and management of the revitalized space.
“This theatre will give Broadway in Chicago the ability to attract those productions that are better suited for a more intimate theatre. We hope to be able to expand the theatrical experiences we offer with this intimate and unique venue in the heart of the Magnificent Mile,” says James L. Nederlander (president, Nederlander Organization).
Inaugural productions for the playhouse will include An Evening with Sutton Foster (music direction by Michael Rafter), Traces and a newly adapted version of Stud Terkel’s musical Working (fondly known as “the working-man’s Chorus Line”), in association Broadway-composer Stephen Schwartz.
Though not announced at today’s press event, speculative capacity is set for 550 seats, a nice-sized theatre that will still allow for a more intimate experience when compared to the super-sized venues in Chicago’s theatre-district.
In my view, there are two hurdles that the reincarnated space needs to tackle: the drawbacks of the location, as well countering the fact of high ticket-prices versus its less-than-opulent ambience.
- First of all, the location. Though there is a plus for being amidst the Magnificent Mile, there is also the fact that it’s actually more than a block walk from the main drag – and a rather cement-themed walk at that. Though this might seem trivial, a non-pedestrian-friendly designation is detrimental to any business, be it a coffeehouse, flowershop or, yes, a large theatre. Even though the product on stage is the main attraction for an audience member, another important aspect is pre-show/post-show experience. And a nondescript marquee in a cement-canyon a full block away from Michigan Avenue does not a prospective customer make. One suggestion to up-the-ante would be to build a flashy LCD banner, much like the State Street Channel 7 banner, directly on Michigan Avenue, just to the north of Water Tower Place (this technique has been effective for side-street Broadway houses). This could be a win-win for the city as it would make Michigan Ave. more exciting (as attempted with the NBC ground-level studio) as well as give instant attention to the advertised show (I suspect, however, there might be blow-back from the Water Tower Place residents…)
- Drury Lane Water Tower many times expected their shows to have much longer runs than what actually occurred. This can be partially attributed to the what I call the experience-gap: People are expecting an opulent feeling that they previously experienced at the Oriental and/or Cadillac Palace, but in fact get a more germane theatre that they might equate with many smaller cities. Let’s face it, part of the draw of wildly-successful “Wicked” was not only the show, but the ooh-factor of the lobby and the painted ceilings and Asian-themed accents. You saw this on the faces of the adults and kids when entering the space, that then surely increased the probability of a strong word-of-mouth occurrence. Obviously BIC can’t recreate the theatre to match a historic theatre-palace. Instead, care can be taken in the actual production choices – productions need to have something special about them that supersedes the lacking inner ambience. It looks like BIC has chosen just such productions, with high-def raucous shows like “Traces,” that take advantage of the intimate nature of the space to heighten the show’s energy (think “Blue Man Group”), as well as concerts that lend themselves to more intimate venues (i.e., “An Evening with Sutton Foster”). And fans will flock to see a reconceived version of rarely-produced Working – especially being that it’s based on the book written by Chicago’s beloved Studs Terkel.
In the end, I have the highest respect and expectations for Broadway in Chicago’s new venue endeavor. Through their vision and hard work they have helped elevate Chicago as a theater draw for the entire Midwest, as well as a starting point for numerous Broadway-bound shows (e.g., Spamalot, Producers, Addams Family). We at Chicago Theater Blog wish them the best of luck.
CONCOURSE (175 E. Chestnut)
A fractured fairytale
|Broadway in Chicago presents:|
|Beauty and the Beast|
|book by Linda Woolverton
music/lyrics by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman
directed by Rob Roth
Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph (map)
through April 4th (more info | tickets)
reviewed by Keith Ecker
Disney’s musical Beauty and the Beast may be a tale as old as time, but time has definitely taken its toll.
The current touring production, which is making a brief stop at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, comes across as, well, amateurish. Riddled with technical problems, it appears Disney isn’t even trying to spice up its usual schlock before serving it up to eager audiences.
The musical follows closely to the animated feature’s plot. Belle (Liz Shivener) is the most beautiful girl in the village. Not so bad, right? The problem is she’s an oddball because she has an active imagination and enjoys getting lost in a good book. It doesn’t help that her father Maurice (Christopher Spencer) is an eccentric inventor.
The dashing yet brutish and egocentric Gaston (Nathaniel Hackman) has a thing for the lovely Belle. The only problem is that his extreme hubris is a huge turnoff to the lass, which only fuels the fire in Gaston’s heart even more.
One day, father/inventor Maurice ventures out into the woods where he is attacked by wolves (made possible through some fairly frightening puppetry, so frightening in fact that it terrified the little girl sitting in front of me to the point that she and her mother had to leave the theater). The old man seeks shelter in a castle, which unbeknownst to him is inhabited by a bunch of talking appliances and a Beast (Justin Glaser).
We all know where the story goes from here. The Beast makes a trade—Maurice for Belle. Slowly but surely the two opposites attract and lo and behold the magic spell that has been cast over the kingdom is finally lifted.
The only significant plot difference in the musical is that more attention is paid to the castle’s ensemble, which includes Cogsworth the clock (Keith Kirkwood), Lumiere the candelabra (Merritt David Janes) and Mrs. Potts the teapot (Sabina Petra, whose British accent is all over the U.K. map). In this version, the servants are slowly transforming into these objects, upping the stakes for the Beast to break the spell sooner rather than later.
Throughout the entire show, from the beginning to the end, there were issues with performers’ microphones. Cracks and pops would occasionally drown out dialogue or interrupt a melody. Normally I wouldn’t put so much weight on a technical issue like this, but it was never resolved throughout the two-hour musical. In addition, whereas most audiences might not notice if a microphone is temporarily tuned down too low, people sitting around me began to moan and groan with the more rustling and crackling we had to endure.
There was also a faulty light cue (Spoiler alert for anyone not familiar with the story.) The musical handles Gaston’s death in the most G-rated manner possible. It only alludes to him falling by showing him teetering over the ledge of a balcony. My assumption is that the lights are supposed to go down at the moment right before we see him fall. When I saw it, Gaston regained his footing, stared blankly out at the audience and then the lights went down.
The actors were all decent, but there were no showstoppers. However, there were some impressive acrobatics, especially from Michael Fatica, who played Gaston’s right-hand man Lefou.
For a musical, there seemed to be a dearth of big numbers throughout the first part of the show. You would think that the opener “Bonjour” would be high energy, but, despite involving the whole cast, it seemed much less lively than the cartoon. The standout song was by far “Be Our Guest,” which was truly a spectacle, complete with dancing plates and forks and a tumbling rug. One of the other big numbers, “Gaston” was a miscalculated headache thanks to the incorporation of clinking metal steins into the choreography.
Small children who are fans of the cartoon will probably enjoy the show, granted they aren’t scared of some of the darker scenes, including the stabbing of the Beast. It may instead be the adults who are squirming in their seats, wishing they had just rented the cartoon instead.
Meet the 4 Billy’s starring in Chicago’s newest hit play – Billy Elliot the Musical, music by Elton John. In this video we find out where the Billy’s are from, how old they were when they first started dancing, how excited they are to be in Chicago, and just what an amazingly talented set of young actors/singers/dancers these boys are. And did you know that they also are in school while rehearsing and performing? It’s all here in the video. (video courtesy of Broadway-in-Chicago)
Let the pros show you how it’s done
Broadway in Chicago presents:
An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin
by Paige Listerud
There’s something secure in watching two consummate professionals dig into the American songbook and skillfully weave both major and minor works into a thematic whole. Their vocal power and dexterity astonishes, their ability to delineate the subtext behind the lyrics awakens new possibilities within each song, and the sheer joy in performance that they exhibit with each other becomes nothing less than infectious. Patti Lupone and Mandy Patinkin take the audience on a musical journey and that audience will gladly then follow over hill and dale precisely because they know they are in good hands.
Broadway In Chicago’s An Evening with Patti Lupone and Mandy Patinkin only runs from March 2 to March 7 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. The show reunites them after their first turn together in Evita thirty years ago. But the biggest surprise of the evening may be the casual, youthful ease and vigor both singers evince as the evening progresses. Upon opening night, Lupone omitted her classic calling card, “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” from the program’s first act—leading to speculation over whether she felt a touch under the weather. If so, it was a meager compromise in an otherwise energetic and precisely crafted performance.
Mandy Patinkin conceived the dramatic arc and music selection of the production with his longtime accompanist and collaborator Paul Ford. Indeed, it’s difficult to imagine this show without Ford’s quicksilver touch at the piano. The program itself is intriguing, to say the least. Major musical hits by Jerome Kern, Steven Sondheim and Rodgers and Hammerstein have been spliced with lesser known work–such as “Somewhere It’s Green” from Little Shop of Horrors, “Everybody Says Don’t” from Anyone Can Whistle, and “Old Folks” from 70, Girls, 70. The songs are aligned to suggest the course of a relationship between two people–falling love, evading commitment, settling down and recalling the past together.
The arc of the first act flows more smoothly than the second, mostly because it’s hard to miss a love story with tunes from South Pacific. Patinkin’s light, dexterous interpretation of “Some Enchanted Evening” refreshes and revives the standard. Clearly, Patinkin, Lupone and Ford are pushing the songs a little beyond conventional rendition—never so far as to seem outlandish, just enough to incite renewed interest. Patter songs frame and energize the evening—Lupone whipping out “Getting Married Today” from Company and Patinkin joyfully hamming his heart out with “The God-Why-Don’t-You-Love-Me Blues” from Follies.
The storyline may get a little lost in the second act, but by that time the audience just might not care. Lupone and Patinkin clearly love working together and they happily let everyone else in on their connection. Some numbers are effervescently goofy, like Ann Reinking’s charmingly choreographed dance on rolling office chairs. Above all, both performers are old hands at deeply humanizing their material but also give it the fresh glow of people who never take life for granted. It’s a perspective that makes this show the perfect start to March in Chicago, when the first suggestions of spring are borne on the wind.
So you wanna be a producer? Mark the weekend of March 19 – 21 and plan on attending the Chicago Producing Intensive Conference at the Goodman Theatre’s Owen Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn. A $350 ticket ($275 for members of the League of Chicago Theatres) includes access to presentations and networking opportunities with a who’s who of heavy-hitter producers and general managers from blockbuster shows in Chicago and on Broadway as well as national tours.
Presenters scheduled for the conference include Tom Viertel, partner with Scorpio Entertainment (A Little Night Music); Allied Live Managing Partner Laura Matalon (Broadway’s Hair, Billy Elliot, Mama Mia and Legally Blonde, among others); Broadway in Chicago Vice President Eileen LaCario; Jujamcyn Theatres Creative Director Jack Viertel; Steppenwolf Theatre Executive Director David Hawkanson; David Richards of Richards/Climan (general managers for Broadway’s Blithe Spirit and All My Sons, among others) and Goodman Theatre Executive Director Roche Schulfer.
Presenters are slated to address audience development, script and story development and promotional strategies and marketing techniques, among others topics.
The conference is open to anyone interested in producing, co-producing or investing in the theater, be it in Chicago, New York or for national tours. Aspiring general managers and investors are also invited. Program planners say the weekend will be of special interest to anyone exploring relationships between the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors in the development of a theater project.
The Commercial Theater Institute, now in its 29th year, is a project of Theatre Development Fund (TDF) and The Broadway League, Inc. Dedicated to training the next generation of commercial theatre producers, CTI strives to provide resources and guidance to people interested in creating commercial productions for the stage.
Children’s classic turned stage tragedy
Broadway in Chicago presents:
The 101 Dalmatians Musical
Based on “101 Dalmatioas” by Dodie Smith
Book adapted by BT McNicholl
Music by Dennis DeYoung
Lyrics by DeYoung and McNicholl
Directed by Jerry Zaks
reviewed by Catey Sullivan
Lest you confuse it with the classic Disney animated movie “101 Dalmatians,” the marquee in front of the Cadillac Palace proclaims that The 101 Dalmatians Musical is within. Although to be sure, 1961’s more simply titled version also had music. But that nearly 50-year-old gem is to the new Broadway in Chicago touring production what a real dog is to a pet rock. There is more suspense, heart and humor in the opening credits of 101 Dalmatians the movie than there is in the whole of The 101 Dalmatians the musical.
To be fair, my 8-year-old consultant on the project liked the stage show. But he wasn’t thrilled, as he was with Lookingglass Alice at Lookingglass, swept wholly away as he was with the Goodman’s A Christmas Carol or completely delighted as he was with Mary Poppins. Kids are smart – they can intuit when something’s being dumbed down for their supposed benefit. And make no mistake: Novelist Dodie Smith’s tale of noble canines and evil dognappers has been dumbed down horrendously. The original (both book and movie) were clever, cute and genuinely heart-warming. The touring show is shrill, condescending and precious. It is also a crass, obvious and cheaply produced attempt to make money. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with shows whose raison d’être is to make money. But when the fiscal concerns are more apparent than the artistic concerns, you’ve got a dog that don’t hunt.
The cheapness of The101 Dalmatians Musical is apparent in both the cast and the production values. Led by a screechy Sara Gettelfinger as fur fetishist Cruella (replacing the originally announced Rachel York in the role), the ensemble performs at the level one might expect from a middle school variety show. It’s an Equity show, but you’d never guess that based on Warren Carlyle’s charmless choreography, Dennis DeYoung’s forgettable score and the mugging acting style favored by director Jerry Zaks.
The brief moments when the canine caper transcends the abrasive mediocrity that dominates the production arrive with the real Dalmatians. There’s a tease at the end of the first act, as the pooches pose in a tableau that sends the audience out to intermission on a high note. The dogs also get the spotlight (no pun intended) in an epilogue of clever animal tricks. Opening night, however, that final scene only highlighted the sloppiness of the humans involved with the show. This happened when a Dalmatian bounded out, got up on her hind legs and seemed to unfurl a window awning by turning a wheel of some sort. The illusion would have been pleasantly diverting if the person actually manipulating the window treatment had stayed out of sight. She didn’t, cruelly stealing the dog’s sunshine.
As for the rest of the two-legged ensemble, director Zaks has the cast collectively subscribing to the louder-is-better school of acting. Every character is underwritten and broadly (over)played. Book writer BT McNicholl seems oblivious to the fact that character counts and simplicity doesn’t mean stupid, not even in the most fundamental children’s picture books. (Look at Where the Wild Things Are – a scant paragraph of prose, and a world entirely of unforgettable characters) McNicoll reduces Smith’s story to a parade of flashy costumes and obvious punchlines. Curiously, he doesn’t skimp on the sado-masochistic elements of the tale. One expects some frank talk about skinning puppies and turning them into gloves. But what’s with stressing Cruella’s violent death and having her cackle with unbridled glee as she discovers that she loves the sensation of flames devouring her flesh? For a kid’s show, that’s just weird. And unless your name is Lemony Snicket, not entirely appropriate.
As for the corps of children playing the puppies, they’re burdened both with that drearily dumb book and choreography that will provide audience members of a certain age a flashback to Zoom, that ‘70s show that captivated Junior High School Nation back in the day with its Up-With-People-Lite dance routines and cereal box brand of relentless perkiness. The Dalmatian Musical kids are capable, but at Broadway in Chicago prices, one expects an ensemble that transcends your basic middle school aesthetic.
On the plus side, The 101 Dalmatians Musical does have a clever design concept. The actors playing humans are all on stilts, which provides the audience with a dogs’-eye-perspective on matters. Robert Morgan’s costumes and Heidi Ettinger’s oversize sets are original. And distracting. After the initial laugh was over, we found we spent an inordinate amount of time pondering where the actors’ real legs ended and where their stilt legs began. Also, how those gigantic shoes worked. Moreover, choreographer Carlyle can only do so much with performers on stilts, so the dancing never gets much more elaborate than a JV squad pom-pom routine.
Finally, there’s the puppies not played by kids. As newborns, the Dalmatians look like dead mops. Which, as descriptions go, might not make sense to those who haven’t seen The 101 Dalmatians Musical. But look like dead mops they do. And it is oh so very difficult to invest in a story that begins with the premise that one should care about a basket of fugly cleaning equipment.
The 101 Dalmatians Musical continues through Feb. 28 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 154 W. Randolph. Tickets are $18 $85, more if you want the Broadway in Chicago Concierge experience. For more information click here or go to www.the101dalmatiansmusical.com or www.broadwayinchicago.com or by calling 800/775-2000.
Featuring Elton John and the 4 Billys
This first Billy Elliot webisode features interviews with Elton John (music), Stephen Daldry (director) and the four young stars rotating in the role of ‘Billy’ – Tommy Batchelor, Giuseppe Bausilio, Cesar Corrales and JP Viernes.
Find out why the producers chose Chicago for the first U.S. production outside of Broadway and what makes Chicago such an incredible city for live theatre.
Additional webisodes will be released in March and April to introduce the cast, explore rehearsals, audience reactions, opening night and more, giving viewers around the world a chance to connect with this hit musical as it begins its run in Chicago.
More information regarding the production available after the fold.
Abagail’s Party - A Red Orchid Theatre
The Analytical Engine - Circle Theatre
Cocktails with Larry Miller - Paramount Theatre
The Gimmick - Pegasus Players
Katrina: The “K” Word - Loyola University Chicago Theatre
Kenny Rogers - Paramount Theatre
Love Song - Buffalo Theatre Ensemble
Monks in Trouble - Apollo Theater Studio
Mrs. Caliban - Lifeline Theatre
The Old Settler - Writers’ Theatre
Over the Tavern - Noble Fool Theatricals
The Ring Cycle - The Building Stage
Valentine’s Weekend Engagement - River North Chicago Dance Company
What Once We Felt - About Face Theatre
American Buffalo - Steppenwolf Theatre
The Artist Needs a Wife - the side project
Determination - Bruised Orange Theater
F.A.T. People - Gorilla Tango Theatre
Frindle - Griffin Theatre
The Glass Menagerie - Chicago Heights Drama Group
Keymaster/Gatekeeper - Gorilla Tango Theatre
Minna - Trap Door Theatre
Phedra - New World Repertory Theatre
The Wedding - TUTA Theatre
The Year of Magical Thinking - Court Theatre
special ticket offers
$20 tickets to Distracted at American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron Street. American Theater Company is offering $20 tickets to the following performances only: Thursday, February 11 at 8 p.m., Saturday, February 13 at 3 p.m. and Sunday, February 14 at 3 p.m. To purchase tickets, call (773) 409-4125 or visit www.atcweb.org and use the code "extras".
$10 tickets to Phedra by Jean Racine at Theatre Building Chicago,
1225 W Belmont. New World Repertory Theater is offering a limited number of discount tickets for their Thursday and Friday 8:30 p.m. performances through February 14. Call the box office at 773-327-5252 and use the code "EXTRA."
Print this email for $5 off one (1) regular priced admission for The Flaming Dames Mardi Gras themed revue, "Bourbon Street Burlesque" presented by New Millennium Theatre Company at The Spot, 4437 N. Broadway. Show runs Friday and Saturday nights through February 27 at 10:15 p.m. (NO PERFORMANCES FEB 12-13) and a special performance on Fat Tuesday, February 16 at 10:15 p.m. $5 dollar discount taken at box office in exchange for printed email blast. Call 312/458-9083 for reservations or visit www.nmtchicago.org for more information.
$15 tickets to Diamante Production’s world premiere of Lucid at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave. Diamante Productions is offering a limited number of discounted tickets for the Sunday, Feb. 14, 3 p.m. performance. The discount is available for these three performances only. This offer is only valid at the door.
A familiar show for kids of all ages
Broadway in Chicago presents:
review by Aggie Hewitt
In this dark re-imagining of the Broadway classic Annie, executive producer Kary M. Walker gives us an in-your-face look at the cold realities of depression era life, exploring big business, child abuse and of course the vague references to Annie’s Electra Complex buried deep within the play’s subtext.
Just kidding! It’s Annie! Shiny, happy Annie. The 1977 musical about the spunky little red head who’s prediction that “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow,” actually comes true.
This play means different things to different people. To kids who go to see it, it must be a great night. They came to the Auditorium Theatre on the night of the Annie Chicago premier dressed in white tights and pink coats, ready for a night at the theater, and I doubt they were disappointed. Lynn Andrews’ hilariously cruel and pathetic Miss Hanigan was a stand out, and her clownish rendition of “Little Girls” was a highlight.
In kid’s entertainment, the children on stage are more appealing to the parents than the little ones in the audience. Of course kids like seeing other kids with grown up jobs, like acting in a big budget musical. They also like stories they can relate to, that are about children. But as far as the cutesy singing and dancing in Annie, that’s tailored to adult taste. Annie is an adult impression of an ideal child, as are her fellow orphans. For the adults who watch Annie, the kids are the best part. In this production, Madison Kerth is a confident Annie with a powerful singing voice and a very good actress as well. The children perform “A Hard Knock Life” with frustration and that adorable, Annie-esque gallows humor for kids, which has made this show a funny hit for 32 years. And the stand out of the whole production is the super cute seven year old Mackenzie Aladjem, playing the youngest orphan-girl, Molly. With her messy brown hair and her runt-of-the-litter quality, this little thing stole every scene she set foot in.
The two black sheep in the audience that night were companion and me, who both long ago traded pink coats and white tights for Marc Jacobs knock offs and black leggings. During intermission, my friend turned to me and said, “I want to see what happened before Annie. What did Daddy Warbucks do that was so bad he needed to bring an orphan home for the good P.R?” Twenty-Somethings in 2010 may have trouble trusting Annie—The world famous musical who’s original Broadway production made 22 million dollars. We see Daddy Warbucks (played here by David Barton) as a weird combination of Woody Allen and Rupert Murdock. But it’s best for guys like us to check our cynicism at the door, or if that’s not possible just not go. It’s to easy to be cynical about a show like this. Its fun for kids, and it’s shiny and bright. The actors hit their marks and sing like birds. It’s Annie, the same Annie you remember from when you were a kid. This play is not necessarily regarded as a children’s show, it’s more a musical that kids will love. At this point, Annie is something for families and hard core musical fans. There is nothing wrong with that.
all all pictures by Peter Coombs