Peggy Sue Dunigan

Annie at Milwaukee Theatre

By - Dec 21st, 2009 03:03 pm
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Annie, Miss Hannigan and Daddy Warbucks have returned to Milwaukee in Annie, the eternally optimistic musical based on Harold Gray’s comic strip, Little Orphan Annie. The 1977 show, by Charles Strouse, Martin Chernin and Thomas Meehan garnered multiple Drama Desk and Tony Awards and ran more than 2000 performances on Broadway. The show lives on in productions in many languages worldwide.

Annie and her faithful dog, Sandy

Annie and her faithful dog, Sandy

The impressive sets (including a grand circular staircase and an enormous Christmas tree), costumes, seven-piece orchestra, choreography and powerful voices in the production that that ran Friday and Saturday at the Milwaukee Theatre upheld Annie’s illustrious history. Madison Kerth portrayed the sassy, little red-headed title character, and that informed her interpretation of “Tomorrow,” the show’s iconic song. Kerth and the show as a whole played bigger than life, like the comic strip that inspired the show. Sandy, Annie’s trusty canine companion, behaved perfectly on cue.

Lynn Andrews sang and danced Miss Hannigan with a curmudgeonly comedic sensibility. David Barton’s Daddy Warbucks was arr0gant and brusk, but softened in Annie’s presence. The six orphans under Miss Hannigan’s treacherous care, especially Sydney Richardson as Molly, were delightful. Still, their situation held a tinge of sadness. Every orphan longs to be loved and to find a home. Amid the great recession of 2009, we can relate to 1933, as Annie lives out the Great Depression in the New York Municipal Orphanage.

The great moment in this musical comes in the second act, in a scene set on Christmas Eve. Annie and Daddy Warbucks connect as one orphan to another and sing “I Don’t Need Anyone But You.” This endearing connection carries the moral of the story: Without someone to share your life with, money provides little compensation. As Daddy Warbucks claims, “My world was an oyster, but where was my pearl? Who would need me just for me?”

Categories: Theater

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