Audience dressed with a smile for ANNIE
TAYLER RV | ARTS AND CULTURE EDITOR | THE USD VISTA
It may be a hard knock life sometimes, but for those San Diegans who had the opportunity to watch the production of ANNIE, life was anything but hard.
From Nov. 3-8, the San Diego Civic Theatre brought to life the U.S. National Tour of ANNIE. This incarnation of the Tony Award-winning original was directed for the 19th time by Martin Charnin. It was an experience that many parents brought their young children to witness the touching story behind a musical they too probably saw as a young kid.
Sophomore Miranda Maher, who first saw the play ANNIE in elementary school and later became a stage manager for the production during her high school years, was in attendance at the SD Civic Center to watch it once again.
“It really just revitalized my passion for the arts and theater,” Maher said. “It was great to see the San Diego community come together to appreciate the arts, specifically this classic production.”
The original production of ANNIE opened April 21, 1977 and went on to win seven Tony Awards. This new production that performed at the SD Civic Theatre featured a 25 member company with Issie Swickle, the 10-year-old actress who played the main role of Annie. Swickle and the six other orphans showcased their awe-inspiring vocal talents while singing hit scores such as “Maybe” and “It’s the Hard Knock Life”. The audience was completely captivated by the amazing acting and singing talents of each character.
The storyline follows a young, orphan girl who has been stuck in an orphanage since birth. At 11 years old she is determined to find her parents, and with the locket they left her, she refuses to lose hope that they are still in search of her.
When a billionaire, Oliver Warbucks, played by Gilgamesh Taggett, takes Annie into his home he fosters a loving relationship with the young orphan and wants to adopt her. However, when Annie explains her situation about her lost parents still looking for her, Warbucks releases a $500,000 reward for Annie’s parents. After much deception and greed, the young orphan is told that her parents died years ago. Although it is unfortunate situation, she and the other orphans are taken into the caring arms of Oliver Warbucks. For these young girls, the sun really does come out tomorrow.
Maher commented on the admirable acting skills from each of the cast members.
“The acting was very impressive especially from the young girls who played the orphans,” Maher said. “They have to sacrifice a lot to travel around the nation to entertain thousands, which is a pretty crazy lifestyle.”
Lynn Andrews played the role of Miss Hannigan, the hated orphan caretaker who despises the young children she watches over. Andrews’ phenomenal performance had a comical twist that sparked laughter within the audience during many times in the production. The hit song, “Easy Street,” was vocalized exceptionally well and Andrews brought the character of Miss Hannigan to life with her exuberant personality.
There was even an appearance from Sunny, a four-year-old rescue terrier mix, who played the role of Sandy, the dog that Annie befriends while exploring the streets of New York.
Maher was excited when she witnessed a real dog on stage.
“I wish they would have utilized the dog more because in previous productions I felt as if he made more of an appearance,” Maher said. “I was waiting for him to appear more often especially because the dog seemed so well trained!”
The musical production of ANNIE was definitely a hit for the San Diego Civic Theatre. So “Maybe” when the sun comes out “Tomorrow”, audience members who shared in this ANNIE experience will ‘never be fully dressed without a smile’.