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.
The Maltz Jupiter Theatre produces the family-friendly musical Annie, onstage December 3 through 22. Photo by Alicia Donelan.
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.
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.
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.
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