BWW REVIEWS: The Maltz Jupiter Theatre Presents a Heartwarming ANNIE for the Holidays

BWW REVIEWS: The Maltz Jupiter Theatre Presents a Heartwarming ANNIE for the Holidays

While some musical theatre Grinches may hold fast to the stage rule 'never work with children or animals,' most producers of 'Annie' know why the opposite is true. Leading into the holiday season, there may be no better reminder of love and family than a little girl's bravery to strike out into the nasty world of Depression-era Manhattan alone in search of just that. The level of optimism written into the tried and true legit score is unparalleled and, when performed with honesty and integrity by the Maltz Jupiter Theatre's cast, audiences find themselves rooting not only for the child but also for the generosity of a community.

The pitfalls when mounting a musical that has enjoyed a countless amount of productions from stage to screen and whose characters originally sprouted from the 1924 comic strip are what could turn the show into a trite generalization of the time period and naiveté of children. However, Director and Choreographer Mark Martino is careful to highlight the relatable truth in these characters so that audiences can connect with them rather than be distanced from them. Paramount to this successful production of 'Annie' is the group of kids full of spunk as they prank their hapless keeper Miss Hannigan. Clara Young provides her Annie with a crystal clear voice and the right amount of a can-do attitude. She is supported by a troupe of talented young girls, mostly local to the South Florida community, who exude a contagious energy off of which the adults in the cast must be happy to feed. Their cleverly staged 'Hard Knock Life' was an unforgettable moment of the evening.

Vicki Lewis makes a triumphant return to the Maltz Jupiter stage this year as Miss Hannigan, having previously won a Carbonell for her Dolly in 'Hello Dolly.' Her comedic chops make her Hannigan a memorably hilarious drunk who, surprisingly, shows a glimpse of heart when reluctantly joining in on Rooster's scheme to steal Annie. A clear standout, Christopher Carl's Oliver Warbucks is brilliantly sung, full of unexpected warmth and matches well with Emily Ferranti's gorgeous voice as Grace, although more of a connection is needed between the two earlier in their relationship. The strong supporting cast as well as the gorgeously detailed design in Paul Tate dePoo III's set drive this production to be a real gem of the Maltz Jupiter Theatre's season.

BWW REVIEWS: The Maltz Jupiter Theatre Presents a Heartwarming ANNIE for the Holidays
The Maltz Jupiter Theatre produces the family-friendly musical Annie, onstage December 3 through 22. Photo by Alicia Donelan.

BWW REVIEWS: The Maltz Jupiter Theatre Presents a Heartwarming ANNIE for the Holidays
Vicki Lewis, center, stars as Miss Hannigan in the Maltz Jupiter Theatre's professional production of the family-friendly musical Annie, onstage through December 22. Pictured from left are Jenna McCoy, 9, of Royal Palm Beach; Charlotte Krieger, 11, of Palm Beach Gardens; Emma Wallach, 12, of Palm Beach Gardens; Sophia Liano, 9, of Stuart; Juliana Simone, 11, of Coral Gables; and Olivia Henley, 11, of Wellington. Photo by Alicia Donelan.

BWW REVIEWS: The Maltz Jupiter Theatre Presents a Heartwarming ANNIE for the Holidays
The Maltz Jupiter Theatre's professional production of the family-friendly musicalAnnie (onstage through December 22) includes local young stars. Pictured, from left, are Emma Wallach, 12, of Palm Beach Gardens; Juliana Simone, 11, of Coral Gables; Charlotte Krieger, 11, of Palm Beach Gardens; Jenna McCoy, 9, of Royal Palm Beach; Clara Young, 10, of New York City; Olivia Henley, 11, of Wellington; and Sophia Liano, 9, of Stuart. Photo by Alicia Donelan.

BWW REVIEWS: The Maltz Jupiter Theatre Presents a Heartwarming ANNIE for the Holidays
Clara Young (Annie) and Macy the dog (Sandy) star in the Maltz Jupiter Theatre's professional production of the classic musical Annie, onstage through December 22. Photo by Alicia Donelan.

BWW REVIEWS: The Maltz Jupiter Theatre Presents a Heartwarming ANNIE for the Holidays
John Scherer (Rooster), Vicki Lewis (Miss Hannigan) and Elise Kinnon (Lily St. Regis) star in the Maltz Jupiter Theatre's professional production of the classic musical Annie, onstage through December 22. Photo by Alicia Donelan.

BWW REVIEWS: The Maltz Jupiter Theatre Presents a Heartwarming ANNIE for the Holidays
Emily Ferranti (Grace Farrell), left, and Christopher Carl (Oliver Warbucks), center, star with Clara Young (Annie), third from right, and the other orphans in the Maltz Jupiter Theatre's professional production of the family-friendly musical Annie, onstage through December 22. The orphans, from left, are portrayed by Emma Wallach, 12, of Palm Beach Gardens; Juliana Simone, 11, of Coral Gables; Sophia Liano, 9, of Stuart; Jenna McCoy, 9, of Royal Palm Beach; Charlotte Krieger, 11, of Palm Beach Gardens; and Olivia Henley, 11, of Wellington. Photo by Alicia Donelan.

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Michelle Petrucci A North Jersey native, Michelle grew up in the dance studio and then soon called the theatre her second home. Professionally, she has used her passion for dance and musical theatre to lead her to a fulfilling career as a performer, choreographer, director and educator. She has toured the country in the First National Tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, served as the Dance Captain of the National Tour of Camelot, spent months at sea as a lead singer/dancer for Princess Cruise Lines, and has been seen regionally in such shows as A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Pal Joey, Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, Pippin and Company. In Boston, her choreography for Pal Joey was nominated of an IRNE award. Upon relocating to Florida from New York, she choreographed the Florida Premier of Snoopy The Musical under the direction of co-creator Arthur Whitelaw, Urinetown and Bat Boy: The Musical at Area Stage Company in Coral Gables as well as Lippa's Wild Party for Outré Theatre Company in Boca. She was also seen in the Carbonell Award-winning production of Hello Dolly at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. Michelle is currently on faculty at Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach where she teaches musical theatre dance, choreographs and directs. She earned her BFA in Musical Theatre with an emphasis in Dance from The Boston Conservatory and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.


 
🔀FORT LAUDERDALE SHOWS
The Addams Family
(Runs 1/10 - 1/11)
Miss Nelson is Missing! in Fort LauderdaleMiss Nelson is Missing!
(Runs 2/23 - 2/23)
Motown the Musical in Fort LauderdaleMotown the Musical
(Runs 2/24 - 3/8)
Motown - The Musical in Fort LauderdaleMotown - The Musical
(Runs 3/1 - 3/8)
The Addams Family
(Runs 2/26 - 3/8)
Pippin in Fort LauderdalePippin
(Runs 3/31 - 4/12)
Cinderella in Fort LauderdaleCinderella
(Runs 4/26 - 4/26)

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