Friday, May 6, 2016

reviews - ANNIE - National Tour: ASU Gammage

Heidi Gray, Gilgamesh Taggett, and Chloe Tiso
photo: Joan Marcus
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through May 8th.

"...The strength of Annie is that it’s not the sappy or cutesy musical that those who have never seen the show perceive it to be. ...Director Charnin has fleshed out the comedy to a degree not always seen.  There’ll be moments when you suddenly realize you haven’t stopped grinning for whole scenes at a time. Presented with a strong ensemble of players throughout, Charnin’s Annie is full of the kind of fresh vitality you wouldn’t ordinarily expect in a show that has surfaced in regional theatres around the country, both community and professional, for so many years. ...Gilgamesh Taggert’s Oliver Warbucks is exactly what’s required.  He’s tall, broad shouldered, imposing and, yes, appropriately bald....Heidi Gray’s Annie possesses just the right amount of feistiness needed to portray Annie...she’s also tough and street-smart, and Heidi, under Charnin’s guidance, brings that quality to the surface. ...But the scene stealer is Lynn Andrews’ Miss Hannigan.  ..Her rendition of Little Girls delivered with a malicious and snarling, comical relish is a production highlight. With a Broadway score that sounds as fresh as it ever did – A Hard Knock Life and You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile presented with new arrangements and new choreography should have you cheering from your seats – on a day when the heat index for the valley hit a hundred, Christmas came early.  This Annie is delightful. " -David Appleford, Valley Screen and Stage (click here to read the complete review

".. the 1977 musical Annie is one that most people have seen numerous times. It is also a show that seems to be equally beloved but also just as equally hated by others, most likely due to the saccharine sweetness of the familiar song "Tomorrow" and the number of overly cute, and sometimes cloying, young girls who usually get cast as the orphans. Fortunately, the current national tour of this hit musical, which comes to ASU Gammage for a week long run and is directed by the show's original director and lyricist Martin Charnin, is fresh and fun and features talented leads, a superb cast of young actresses, and colorful creative designs. While there is plenty of sweetness in this production there isn't a hint of artificial sweetener....The national touring cast may be playing parts inspired by two-dimensional cartoon characters, but for the most part they are all delivering well-rounded portrayals full of comedy and emotion. Heidi Gray is confident, upbeat, and always optimistic as Annie, with a clear, strong, and winning singing voice that excels on her many songs. As Warbucks, Gilgamesh Taggett is a giant teddy bear with a sweet, soulful singing voice. Taggett instills Warbucks with a perfectly rigid, capitalistic heart that Annie begins to soften as soon as the two meet. Lynn Andrews is comically delicious as the conniving Miss Hannigan with pipes that deliver a bright, booming belt and agile legs that kick up a storm during "Easy Street."...Martin Charnin clearly knows what is required to infuse the proceedings with emotionally packed moments and to play up the comical scenes equally. My only that there are a few moments where the actors appear to be slightly unattached and simply waiting to deliver their next lines. ...Annie is a joyful musical of hope and heart and I'm happy to say that the national tour production foregoes any hint of cutesiness or overly sugary moments. Instilled with a realness and with talented leads and seven gifted young actresses who deliver rough, gruff, and natural portrayals of the orphans, the end result is refreshing. This production will surely delight audiences of all ages and maybe even soften the hearts of those who have come to hate the musical just like Annie softens Daddy Warbucks."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

COMING SOON --Chris Curcio, KBAQ (click here to read the complete review)

"..The current national tour...delivers everything an “Annie” fan could want, from the smart-looking sets... to the cutesy, crowd-pleasing choreography. The appealing cast features Heidi Gray in the title role, radiating spunk, and her fellow orphans sing the heck out of “It’s the Hard Knock Life.” ...Lynn Andrews is hilariously wicked as the booze-swilling, girl-hating orphan-minder, Miss Hannigan, and has big, beautiful, brassy pipes to boot...."  - Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic (click here to read the complete review)

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