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Review Roundup: ANNIE Opens on Broadway - All the Reviews!

Annie, the new production of the Tony Award-winning musical, began previews October 3, 2012 and opens tonight at the Palace Theatre (Broadway at 47th Street).

Annie features a book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin, with all three authors receiving 1977 Tony Awards for their work. Annie is directed by Pulitzer Prize and three-time Tony Award-winner James Lapine and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Andy Blankenbuehler.

Annie stars two-time Tony Award winner Katie Finneran as Miss Hannigan, Australian star Anthony Warlow making his Broadway debut as Daddy Warbucks and 11-year-old Lilla Crawford as Annie, with Brynn O’Malley as Grace Farrell, Clarke Thorell as Rooster Hannigan and J. Elaine Marcos as Lily St. Regis. The Orphans are Madi Rae DiPietro as July, Georgi James as Pepper, Junah Jang as Tessie, Tyrah Skye Odoms as Kate, Taylor Richardson as Duffy, Emily Rosenfeld as Molly and Jaidyn Young as standby for the roles of Annie, Pepper, Duffy and July.

Let's see what the critics had to say...

Ben Brantley, The New York Times: Say what you will about the current version of “Annie,” which is directed with a slightly tremulous hand by James Lapine and features the virtuosic Katie Finneran as the villainous Miss Hannigan, you can’t fault the timing of its return to Broadway…It would seem that Mr. Lapine is hoping to introduce at least a tincture of psychological shading to a show that is only, and unapologetically, a singing comic strip. In its first incarnation “Annie” was an unstoppable sunshine steamroller. This version, which flirts with shadows, moves more shakily…In 1977 Miss Hannigan was portrayed by Dorothy Loudon as a juicy gargoyle, with equal parts Dickensian villainy and showbiz oomph. Ms. Finneran, a two-time Tony winner, takes a more humanizing approach…As Warbucks...Anthony Warlow also ventures into naturalism, inflecting his songs with unexpected emotional variety...The delicate-featured but indefatigable Ms. Crawford, who is possessed of both a golden glow and a voice of brass, is pretty close to perfect in the title role.

Mark Kennedy, Associated Press: The slow-to-start musical features an appealing 11-year-old Lilla Crawford in the title role, an overcooked Katie Finneran as Miss Hannigan and a first-rate Anthony Warlow as Daddy Warbucks...Finneran and Warlow seem to be in different shows. If you missed her in her Tony Award-winning turn as a daffy, drunken floozy in “Promises, Promises,” she reprises it here. In fact, she does very little new...If Finneran is big and brassy and broad, Warlow is the opposite. This Australian actor brings gravitas and a sumptuous voice to Warbucks...While Crawford is excellent, as is usually the case with “Annie,” a younger orphan often steals your heart. In this show, that would be Emily Rosenfeld as Molly, who is cuter than a dump truck of plush teddy bears.

David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter: Hardcore fans may find it lacking in the property’s traditional brash vibrancy, but what makes this revival disarming is that it’s cute without being cutesy and sweet without being saccharine...the heart of the show, as it should be, is Crawford’s Annie. The 11-year-old actress has the vocal chops necessary to sock the songs across, but also the tough pragmatism to command a roomful of heavyweight politicians without coming off as obnoxious...Perhaps the most distinguishing element in this production, however, is Australian musical-theater and opera veteran Warlow’s impressive Broadway debut as Daddy Warbucks...overall, this is a winning presentation of an unapologetically sentimental show that tips its hat to an earlier era in musical theater, before the age of cynicism and industrial spectacle redefined the Broadway model.

Peter Marks, The Washington Post: “Annie,” the 1977 musical based on the 1920s “Little Orphan Annie” comic strip, returns to Broadway as if shipped to the Palace Theatre by a morale-boosting arm of FEMA. Infused with zip and charm by its sensational Annie, Noo-Yawk-tawkin’ Lilla Crawford, the show, slickly staged by James Lapine, tells you that any city or nation keeping faith with the future will rise again, come hell or high water...Coaxed by Lapine...Crawford exudes the beguiling clarity of a kid unbowed by the hard-knock life. Her Annie is as egalitarian as we’d like to believe our country, at its best, might be...Matching Crawford vowel for lazy New York vowel, the Australian Warlow proves to be an ideal Warbucks, the warmth of the performance rising scene by scene.

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