BWW Review: ANNIE at The Engeman
The holiday offering from the exquisite John W. Engeman Theatre of Northport, Long Island, is an excellent production of the classic Tony winning musical Annie. Marking the half-way point of the Engeman's dazzling 11th season, this production, running through December 31st, is superbly directed by Antoinette DiPietropolo who also serves as Choreographer. Now I know you're probably thinking: Another production of Annie? Well, when you have a cast as remarkable as this, it definitely warrants another visit.
The tale, based on the comic strip Little Orphan Annie, follows 11-year-old Annie as she tries to locate her parents who dropped her off at the orphanage when she was just days old. With a lot of hope - and luck - she meets a well-connected billionaire, Oliver Warbucks, to help her on her quest. Broadway's Presley Ryan is terrific as our red headed heroine. Annie's hopeful attitude and positivity are well executed by Ms. Ryan and receives roaring applause for her performances of the iconic "Tomorrow" and "Maybe". Additionally, Ms. Ryan makes a great team with George Dvorsky, another Broadway vet, in the role of Mr. Warbucks. Their rendition of "I Don't Need Anything But You" is charming and charismatic and you can sense their connection.
Additional highlights of the cast include Lynn Andrews as Miss Hannigan, the horrible matron of the orphanage where Annie stays. Ms. Andrews' rendition of "Little Girls" is delightfully creepy and the comedic spin she puts on the role is extremely entertaining. And, if I may, a special kudos to the absolutely adorable AnnaBelle Deaner portraying Molly, the youngest of the orphans, who is an absolute firecracker. There are two casts among the children and Annabelle is part of the superb Green cast. As you can probably tell, the entire company is truly top notch.
On Ms. DiPietropolo's clever creative team, the set, done by Christopher Swader and Justin Swader, is stunningly enhanced by John Burkland's beautiful lighting design and Kurt Alger's gorgeous costumes. It seems like a very busy show and being a large cast, everyone is able to pitch in to ensure seamless scene changes. And the company runs through Ms. DiPietropolo's fun choreography with élan particularly the children with "Hard Knock Life". The entire production is visually stunning. And, of course, it is always thrilling to see a fantastic live orchestra headed up by talented Music Director Jonathan Brenner.
And so Annie is certainly another hit for the John W. Engeman Theatre of Northport, Long Island. A stellar cast and a classic show make for a fun night of theatre.
Annie is presented by the John W. Engeman Theatre of Northport, Long Island, through December 31st. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call (631) 261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com.
Created by Thomas Meehan (Book) & Charles Strouse (Music) & Martin Charnin (Lyrics), Directed and Choreographed by Antoinette DiPietropolo (Engeman Theater: Grease, The Full Monty, Mamma Mia!, Memphis, Miracle on 34th Street, The Producers, A Christmas Story, Evita, The Music Man, South Pacific, Hairspray, I Love You You're Perfect Now Change, and Nunsense; Off Broadway: With Glee. Regional: Annie, Jesus Christ Superstar; Chicago: Ragtime; National Tour: How the Grinch Stole Christmas; Associate Director/Choreographer for The Big Apple Circus), Music Direction by Jonathan Brenner (Music Director: The Runaway Clone (NYMF '15), Shelter (NYMF '12); Composer: The Runaway Clone, Sapien-Sapien-Sapien; Pianist: Broadway Sings Concert Series; Music Director (Academic): Broadway Artists Alliance, ApplauseNY), Associate Director is Amy Griffin (Director: The Taffetas, SHOUT! (Depot Theatre), I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change (White Plains PAC); Performer: Broadway's How the Grinch Stole Christmas), Scenic Design by Christopher Swader & Justin Swader, Costume & Wig Design by Kurt Alger, Lighting Design by John Burkland, Sound Design by Laura Shubert, Casting by Gayle Seay & Scott Wojcik & Holly Buczek of Wojcik/Seay Casting, Prop Design by Suzanne Mason, Stage Management by Nikki Lint, Assistant Stage Manager is Leila Scandar
Starring Lynn Andrews (National Tour: 30th Anniversary Tour of Annie; TV: Speechless, Superstore, P. King Duckling, Super Wings!), George Dvorsky (Broadway: The Scarlet Pimpernel, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Passion, Marilyn: An American Fable, The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas; National Tour: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; Off-Broadway: The Fantasticks, Closer Than Ever, Pete 'n' Keely, Dames at Sea, The World Goes Round), and Presley Ryan (Broadway: Fun Home; New York: How the Grinch Stole Christmas at Madison Square Garden; Regional: Beaches at Drury Lane Theatre and Signature Theater; TV: Orange is the New Black, Difficult People, and The Sound of Music: Live!), Elizabeth Broadhurst, Gina Milo, and Jon Peterson
With Brynne Amelia Ballan, Keira Eve Ballan, Megan Bush, Cordelia Comando, AnnaBelle Deaner, Courtney Fekete, Todd Fenstermaker, Amelia Freiberger, Erin Haggerty, Cassandra LaRocco, Meaghan Maher, Meaghan McInnes, Vincent Ortega, Joel Pellini, Ricky Pope, Theresa Rowley, Michael Santora, Hannah Slabaugh, Emma Sordi, Lily Tamburo, Brian C. Veith, and Teresa Whitt