There is a lot to love in the Broadway show Annie which opened April 18 at the Kaufmann Center for the Performing Arts. The national production is enjoyable for both adults and children and avoids preachy political and social commentary so often thrust into modern musical iterations.
Annie is based on the 1924 comic strip Little Orphan Annie by Harold Gary and tells of a young girl living in an orphanage during the Great Depression. The deceptive and mean Miss Hannigan runs the place and does not possess any qualities to be celebrated on Mother’s Day! Annie is chosen to spend two weeks with Oliver Warbucks, a billionaire, during Christmas, by Grace, his assistant. During Annie’s visit, Warbucks discovers that something is missing in his life and decides to adopt Annie. To everyone’s dismay, her birth parents arrive at the eve of ceremony. Or, are they really Annie’s parents?
The original Broadway production opened in 1977 and ran for nearly six years. Annie has the successful combination of music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and a book by Thomas Meehan. It was nominated for eleven Tony Awards and won seven, including the Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Book. Who cannot hum “Tomorrow” and “It’s a Hard Knock Life?”
The musical has a well-constructed plot of memorable characters. It includes Annie, an optimistic, street-smart red-headed kid; The villainess Miss Hannigan; and Daddy Warbucks, a gruffy and stiff-necked billionaire with a tender heart.
READ: Our review of Hamilton.
In this tour the actors are spot on. Ellie Rose Pulsifer (Annie), Stefanie Londino (Miss Hannigan), Christopher Swan (Oliver Warbucks), and Julia Nicole Hunter (Grace Farrell) are commanding vocally and the portrayal of their characters is outstanding.
There was not a weak link in this production. You can feel the love between Warbucks and Annie. The amazing range and comedic timing of Nick Bernardi (Rooster Hannigan), Krista Curry (Lily), and Stefanie Londino (Miss Hannigan) portrayed in “Easy Street” received a thunderous applause.
Annie is a celebration of love and adoption with a New York City set that comes alive during the “N.Y.C.” number. Visiting New York will never be the same, thanks to Jenn Thompson, director, Philip Rosenberg, Lighting design, and Wilson Chin, Scenic Design.
If you are in a middle of a hard knock life, consider attending Annie. It will be inspiring to you as it was to FDR!
Wednesday, April 19, 2023: 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 20, 2023: 7:30 p.m.
Friday, April 21, 2023: 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 22, 2023: 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 22, 2023: 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 23, 2023: 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 23, 2023: 6:30 p.m.
Muriel Kauffman Theater
1601 Broadway Blvd
Kansas City, MO 64108
Box Office Hours:
Monday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
–Anita Widaman | Metro Voice