BWW Review: ANNIE Charms All Ages at TexARTS in Lakeway, Tx
The popular musical ANNIE now playing at TexARTS in Lakeway, TX, is often associated with young audiences, however this rendition is designed for the whole family to enjoy. Set in depression era Manhattan, New York, title character Annie (played by Danielle Guilbot), resides in a less than loving orphanage.
When left to the vices of a hard knock life facilitated by headmistress Miss Hannigan (played by Kerry McGinnis), Annie was left with a locket and note promising her parents return. Many years later, Annie is now eleven, cleaning floors, while tightly holding onto the lockets representation of hope.
One day, Grace Farrell (played by Kate Brimmer) arrives searching for a special child to spoil during the Christmas holiday. As the private secretary for billionaire Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks (played by Robert Faires), Grace is taken by Annie's gusto and quickly invites her back to the mansion on 5th Avenue. Excited for a break from the orphanage, optimistic Annie charms the staff and Warbucks alike. Warbucks begins to realize life has greater meaning than dollar signs, and decides to adopt Annie as his daughter.
However upon learning of Annie's note and locket, Warbucks commits to Annie a "coast to coast" search for her parents with a $50,000 reward. With the lines of 5th Avenue brimming with self proclaimed parents, the search seems never ending and full of scheming couples looking for a quick buck. Nonetheless, Annie continues to hope she will find her forever home, reminding everyone she meets with a frown that "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow."
Facilitating the massive cast of characters within Annie, TexARTS displays its commitment to bringing excellent theatre at the local level. This rendition is a striking example of an ensemble driven production both onstage and off. With a large group of young performers, paired with the seasoned main actors, the sizable production navigates it's intimate theatre setting quite well. The big character choices displayed by the ensemble hightented the comedy in this production of ANNIE, making the show more heart-racing than heartfelt. A notable funny performer was Kerry McGinnis as Miss Hannigan, her "Little Girls" and "Easy Street" numbers showcased her singing and comedic chops. As the man of the hour, Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks, Robert Faires, represents the heart of the show. Displaying Warbucks life reflection sufficiently, Faires creates a multidimensional character that both made the audience laugh and sympathize with his everyman persona - hard to do when your playing a billionaire.
Large musical numbers were well choreographed by Christopher Shin, providing both exposition for the plot, as well as the more classical step-kick tricks. The ensemble was strong in the group song and dance numbers. Although some parts of the direction came across as campy and didn't quite land, the majority of the comedy presented was committed to and smirk worthy. The scale of performers pristinely costumed by Christopher Arthur, showcases the high production value TexARTS brings to their performances. Not to mention the band playing live offstage, ANNIE brings together all the pieces of a great musical experience. Head to Lakeway, TX through August 4th, 2019 to see TexARTS production of ANNIE. Remember to wear your smile with your pearls - after all, you'll be humming the melody on your way home reminding yourself, you're never fully dressed without one.
Show times: July 12, 13, 17-20, 24-27, 31, and August 1-4 at 7:30 pm. July 13, 14, 21, 28 and August 4 at 2:00 pm.
Single tickets start at $43. Single tickets are available by calling TexARTS Box Office at 512-852-9079 x101 or at www.tex-arts.org. Box Office hours are from 11am-5pm Monday-Friday. All ages are welcome and parking is free. Group rates for groups of 10 or more are available by contacting the Box Office. Run time is about 120 minutes.
*Luciana Marinari alternates the role of Annie.