BWW Review: ANNIE at Hale Center Theater Orem is Optimistic

BWW Review: ANNIE at Hale Center Theater Orem is Optimistic

Hale Center Theater Orem's production of ANNIE depicts how optimism can cut through despair.

ANNIE (book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin) is a Broadway darling best known for its film adaptations in 1982, 1999, and 2014. Annie is an orphan in the 1930s who must suffer through the abuse of her caretaker Miss Hannigan while waiting for her parents to come back for her. Enter billionaire Oliver Warbucks, who comes into her life unexpectedly and rewardingly.

Madilyn Terry is sweet and spunky as Annie (double cast with Afton Grace Higbee).

Rex Kocherhans is a tender Oliver Warbucks (double cast with Benjamin J. Henderson), and Jessica Pearce is a warm Grace Farrell (double cast with Brandalee Bluth Streeter).

Bonnie Wilson Whitlock as Miss Hannigan (double cast with DeLayne Bluth Dayton) is a riot, with a performance reminiscent of Carol Burnett in the original film.

Wade Robert Johnson and Kelly Coombs are wonderfully suited to play Rooster Hannigan (single cast) and Lily St. Regis (double cast with Brooklynn Pulver-Kohler), respectively.

The choreography by Ashley Gardner Carlson is appealing and well integrated by director David Morgan, along with interesting details in blocking and stage business.

The scenic design by Cole McClure is successful at emulating the variety of required locations, although most enjoyable is an abstract cityscape hewn into a brick wall. As a canvas for projections of New York City, it is the star of the production number "NYC," which is the highlight of the show.

Kris Hansen-Call's costume design and Janna Larsen's hair and makeup design are historically accurate and detailed, with Miss Hannigan's various looks especially a delight. Although, Annie (who is often referred to in the script as redheaded) is given a wig that appears a shade too brown to be rightly called auburn.

ANNIE plays through August 11, 2018. For tickets, call the box office at 801-226-8600 or visit

Photo Credit: L-R Rex Kocherhans (Oliver Warbucks) and Madilyn Terry (Annie). Photo by Suzy Oliveira.

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From This Author Tyler Hinton

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