-Grief- (Login -Grief-) Posted Dec 1, 2008 11:35 AM
And yes, the Molly was tiny and absolutely adorable. There were some changes from recent tours -- for example, Duffy (the second-smallest) did the little Molly dance solo in "Never Fully Dressed." Kate/Annie understudy, who I'm told is fantastic, did the opening solo. July did the "Who cares what you're wearing" solo, and used the same funny voice as Wacky's in the radio scene.
Grace was fantastic, and she's a friend of mine, so I was so proud of her! It's an ideal role for her. Miss Hannigan was also incredible; both were so polished and had such even performances. I can't believe how young Hannigan really is. Warbucks was great, as were Rooster and Lily, although I felt that "Easy Street" was significantly faster than I usually hear it, and a lot of Rooster/Lily lines were very fast. Actually, a lot of the lines in the show were fast in general, as if someone had told the cast to pick up the pace, and I lost some of the meaning in the speed of it all.
Annie was great, although I could sense that her voice was getting tired, and I don't blame her! She certainly pulled through, and it's a really pretty voice, with a nice clear tone. They have a rough schedule, especially with additional matinees for the long Thanksgiving weekend, and they have been traveling a LOT this week. I heard rumors that they might eventually put the understudy in for matinees, as they did for Amanda last year to give her a break, and I think that might be a good idea. No child should be expected to sing full-out for that many shows a week, for any extended period of time!
The orphans were all good, but they all seemed quite old! Not too old for the parts, certainly, it was just that except for Molly and Duffy (her understudy), every orphan was on the tall end, and they were all about the same height.
I did this show when I was ten, and I remember it word-for-word, so I really noticed all the changes that have happened since then. Yes, Hooverville is in, the Cabinet scene is in, and I think all of those minutes that had been cut were restored. But there were many line changes that I didn't appreciate at all. It sort of seemed as if Martin Charnin is turning Annie into a Disney production -- really pandering to the kids, camping it up, instead of keeping the serious quality of the true Broadway hit that it was when it first opened. Annie (the show, not the character) doesn't need every other line hammed up for a laugh -- let the laughs come naturally! Not having seen the show since I was about 12, I was really bothered by these silly changes, and I felt sorry for the cast members who had to say the silly lines or do the silly bits.
Last thing: in the original script, after the Mudges come meet Annie and leave again, Annie's line is (dejectedly): "Just think: New Jersey." I was waiting for that moment, since we were seeing the show in NJ, but the line was changed to: "Just think: a pig farm." I asked my friend if the change was made just for the NJ performances, or for the entire show, and she said it was the latter. Too bad -- I think that would have gotten a great laugh with the NJ audience!