Music by Charles Strouse, Lyrics by Martin Charnin,
Book by Thomas Meehan
December 12th - 27th, 2003
The Tower Theatre performing at the Pleasance Theatre, Kings Cross
Orphans (Red Team)
Orphans (Blue Team)
Sandy, the dog : Adora, Molly or Ruby
Mr Warbucks' household
Judge Brandies : Henry Chester
In the Radio Studio
At the White House
Review by Review by Marlies Morsink for Theatreworld Internet Magazine
Annie by Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin and Thomas Meehan Directed by David Taylor Musical Director : Colin Guthrie Annie is a musical full of optimism and Christmas cheer, with something for the whole family - except, perhaps, ten-year-old Johnny who is apt to fidget and giggle through two hours of watching girls sing and dance. We meet eleven-year-old Annie (played by Helen Guthrie in half the performances and Hannah Maddison in the other half, fourteen and thirteen years old respectively) at the orphanage run by the mean-spirited Miss Hannigan (played to inebriated and simpering perfection by Diane Carr).
Annie and eight other little orphan girls - aged seven to sixteen in real life - sleep two to a bed, are forced to do menial chores, and are only too familiar with the 'hard-knock life'. The little rascals lighten their misery by making fun of their mistress. Annie dreams of finding her parents, who abandoned her at birth - cue for Maybe, the song about Mom and Dad coming to find their baby (yes, it rhymes). Annie's unquenchable optimism is captured in Tomorrow, probably the best known of the musical's songs, in which she sings, 'The sun'll come out tomorrow ... Tomorrow clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow.' Such spirit in the face of adversity warms the cockles of the heart.
What is more, it is rewarded. Annie is invited to spend Christmas with the wealthiest man in America, Daddy Warbucks (played with the appropriate gravitas by Robert Reeve), who becomes so attached to the little ragamuffin that he decides to adopt her. The backdrop of depression era America emphasizes the obstacles facing Annie in this rags-to-riches story, and turns Annie's success into a metaphor for the power of a positive approach to life. Annie, with her 'every-cloud-has-a-silver-lining' attitude, is an inspiration to none other than President Roosevelt, who hits upon the New Deal as the way to combat unemployment and boost the United States' economy, thanks to Annie.
The original Annie - based on the famous American 1930s comic strip Little Orphan Annie - opened to rave reviews on Broadway in 1977, and won seven Tony awards. It opened in London one month later, and ran for three and a half years. The Tower Theatre's Annie is the hands-down winner for getting into the Christmas spirit this season in London.