The Tony Award winning "Annie" is a Holiday Season scrumptious dessert for theatre lovers of all ages. "Annie" plays now at Maltz Jupiter Theatre from December 3 – 22, 2013. Directed and choreographed by Carbonell Award winner Mark Martino (The Music Man, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Crazy for You). Martino's staging uses every set and space, at one moment even having Miss Hannigan climb up her file cabinets, as the set is turning.
The stunning sets by Paul Tate dePoo III may put us back into a depression, but not for long. Daddy Warbuck's mansion with grand winding spiral staircase, decorated for Chistmas is sure to be a breathtaking moment for all. Maltz Jupiter Theatre has got a "new deal" President Roosevelt, and it is not just the glorious sets. The venue itself has taken on a few spacious changes, which include the Theatre’s 62 new Club Level. Club Level Seats are now available for single tickets, and subscription upgrades for Annie. The new open air Box Office, extended Lobby area, all allow for the numbers of Maltz Jupiter Theatre patrons to grown. The multi Carbonell Award winning theatre offers upstairs Club Level lounge giving "VIP Only" access, and don't forget the Green Room is available for private events and functions. Perfect timing for the Holiday Season.
The Maltz Jupiter Theatre production values for "Annie" are top notch as always. The large Orchestra and Cast of 28 performers hit every note for a perfect Holiday treat. Marty Mets Sound Design, Gail Baldwin Costume Designs, are all perfect down to Gerard James Kelly Wig and Hair Designs. Where any production of "Annie" must be dead on is casting. For most every character starting with the lead role Maltz Jupiter Theatre got this show right, but for those who may stand out as an Orphan in casting, don't worry the sun will come out tomorrow.
Clara Young comes to life as the beloved comic strip character created by Harold Gray, "Annie". Clara's voice is sweet, strong and gives audiences memorable songs, including your favorites “Tomorrow,” “Hard-Knock Life,” “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” and “Maybe.” Clara Young credits include (national tour of How the Grinch Stole Christmas).
Let's face it the Orphans are the stars of this "Annie" production, The audience jumped to thier feet when the girls took their well deserved Curtain Call bows. Jenna Mccoy (Molly), Emma Wallach (Pepper), Juliana Simone (Duffy) Olivia Henley (July, Annie Understudy), Sophia Liano (Tessie), and Charlotte Krieger (Kate).
Standouts in the cast are Emily Ferranti as Warbuck's secretary Grace Farrell. Emily Ferranti is the best cast with her pretty looks and shining voice, Elise Kinnon is dead on as the ditzy side kick girlfriend of Rooster, Lilly St. Regis, Christopher Carl has the most pure sounding vocals of any Oliver Warbucks ever in history of any "Annie" production, John Scherer fits the shoes as the shady (Rooster). Even Barry Tarallo gives an honest FDR.
What will work for some, and not for others is Carbonell winner Vicki Lewis gives a lush look into the life of Miss Hannigan. Lewis choice of physicality for the role looks more like Miss Hannigan has cerebral palsy. We all know Vicki can sing, from those who remember her in Hello Dolly!. What this proves, is even those with talent can be miss cast. Carrie Underwood's live performance of "The Sound of Music" on TV the same night as Maltz Jupiter Theatre "Annie" opening may steal the viral news thunder. So it won't stay in the news long. Vicki, the sun will come out "Tomorrow".
The cast is rounded out with a strong group of talents including Lauren Kadel (Dance Captain, Ensemble), Alex Jorth (Ensemble), Jay Johnson (Ensemble), Mary Elizabeth Rich (Ensemble), Julie Kavanagh (Ensemble), Irene Adjan (Ensemble), Jo Patrick (Ensemble), Mason Roberts (Ensemble), Curt Denham (Ensemble), Schuyler Beeman (Ensemble).
“With its knockout score and catchy lyrics, Annie is an example of musical theatre excellence at its finest,” said Andrew Kato, the Theatre’s producing artistic director. “Annie is both a large-scale song-and-dance extravaganza and a wonderfully uplifting story about two unlikely people finding each other. It will absolutely delight kids of all ages.”
Annie follows the story of an optimistic orphan during the depression, who is terrorized by miserable orphanage matron Miss Hannigan. Annie finds a faithful companion in a stray dog, Sandy, and eventually an unlikely father in billionaire Oliver Warbucks, whose heart melts when he meets the spunky redhead.
“At the heart of it, Annie is a story about the innocence, resilience and courage of an 11-year-old who has been dealt a terrible hand in life, yet maintains a boundless optimism for a future full of sunny ‘tomorrows,’” Martino said. “Annie reminds us of a simple, profound truth that most adults have forgotten; Oliver Warbucks may be the richest man in the world, yet all his money can’t possibly buy the greatest treasures of all – love and family.”
Annie originally opened on Broadway in 1977. Written by Thomas Meehan, the adventure-filled musical won seven Tony Awards (including Best Musical) and shattered all previous box office records at the Alvin Theatre by running for nearly six years. It inspired a 1982 film, a 1999 TV special, two Broadway revivals and countless productions across the world, with former cast members that include stars such as Carol Burnett, Sarah Jessica Parker, Andrea McArdle, Nell Carter, Molly Ringwald and local resident and Broadway veteran Gary Beach.
“Of the canon of musicals licensed throughout the country, Annie is one of the top five musicals of all time,” said Maltz Jupiter Theatre board member Rodger Hess, who produced the 20th anniversary Broadway revival of Annie in 1997 and the recent national tour.
Broadway veteran Christopher Carl may have the most pure sounding vocals of any Oliver Warbucks. His credits include (Tarzan, South Pacific and Mamma Mia). The 12 local children (six cast members and six understudies) as the orphans, were cast through Maltz Jupiter Theatre's annual First Step to Stardom auditions.
The production also stars Macy the dog as Sandy, a rescue dog trained by renowned Broadway animal trainer Bill Berloni. Macy has starred in over a dozen productions of Annie nationally, and on Thanksgiving Day 2011, she was seen on NBC during The National Dog Show. Actor Schuyler Beeman serves as Macy’s handler during the Theatre’s production.
“Sometimes it takes a year to train a dog for the role of Sandy, but we had Macy doing her first production in six months,” Berloni said. “Macy is a very smart, malleable, happy-go-lucky dog. She is actually our best-trained Sandy, which is why she gets to do all the regional productions.”
Special thanks to Annie sponsors the John MacDonald Company and Admiral’s Cove Cares. The Matltz Jupiter Theatre's 62 new club level seats are available for single tickets and subscription upgrades for Annie. Group rates are available, and the Theatre’s new upstairs club level lounge, The Green Room, is available for private events and functions. Tickets for "Annie" start at $52 and may be purchased by calling (561) 575-2223 or visiting www.jupitertheatre.org/shows/Annie. "Annie" is a Theatre Chat top pick for Holiday Musical Theatre for the entire family.