No maybe about it, “Annie” dazzles on the big stage

“Why any kid would want to be an orphan, I’ll never know.”

Theatre is full of uncertainty, but if there’s one sure thing, it’s that Fine Arts Center will go all-out to wow us at Christmas.

“Annie” delivers the thrill of a big musical, from its grandiose, Art Deco set design to the articulate live orchestra.

The story is well known. A plucky, redheaded orphan in 1930s New York spends Christmas with a billionaire. She wins his heart, and together they help FDR launch the New Deal, giving all of America hope for “Tomorrow.”

Kennedy Ort, in her first major role, plays an irresistible Annie. With buckets of moxie and a winning smile, she’s a force of optimism that brightens the entire show. She hits the high notes cleanly, not diva-esque but with a warmer, more vulnerable purity.

Mark Rubald echoes her intimate vocal style as Daddy Warbucks. He holds back his strong pipes at times to make the songs feel like a secret side of himself.

This version of Warbucks doesn’t waste time resisting Annie’s charms. He may not speak the language of children, but he’s clearly invested in her happiness. The duo uses their height difference to create several adorable moments.

The dance numbers dazzle the crowd, with “It’s a Hard Knock Life” and “I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here” as particular standouts. The orphan girls have a fun, rowdy camaraderie, and we loved Kevin Pierce’s velvety crooning and send-it-to-the-cheap-seats energy as Rooster.

At curtain call, the little girl sitting next to us nearly lost her mind cheering for Annie. Isn’t that how a big musical should make us feel?

Additional Notes:
Fans of the popular 1982 film should prepare for different songs. The stage version…

Excludes Includes
“Dumb Dog”/“Sandy” “We’d Like to Thank You, Herbert Hoover”
“Let’s Go to the Movies” “NYC”
“We Got Annie” “You Won’t Be an Orphan for Long”
“Sign” “Something Was Missing”
“A New Deal for Christmas”

Given the demands of their roles, Annie and Molly (the youngest orphan) are double-cast. From what we hear, you’re in good hands either way.

“Annie” contains mild swearing, alcohol consumption and dances that expose lots of leg.

Fine Arts Center
30 W Dale St
Box Office: (719) 634-5581

Playing December 7, 2017 – January 7, 2018
Running Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Admission: $50-$55 premium

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