Annie | Auditorium Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Annie New Review (Theater and Comedy) The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Jan. 19-24 2010

The recession has given new currency to this 1977 musical based on Harold Gray's venerable comic strip "Little Orphan Annie." Set in 1933, the tale of 11-year-old Annie's quest for her long-lost parents is visually, thematically, and to some extent musically anchored in the Great Depression, and it's easy to pick out the parallels when people downsized into homelessness sing bitterly about their situation or the members of Franklin Roosevelt's Brain Trust review a collection of crises that could be on the agenda at an Obama cabinet meeting. The bare facts could make for a pretty miserable two-and-two-thirds hours. But of course Annie's pluck and optimism (combined with Daddy Warbucks's billions) win the day. What's more, the touring production on view here has a sunny disposition of its own. The familiar score gets a playful going over, the choreography is zesty, and there's something oddly heartwarming about watching Harold Ickes really get in to singing "Tomorrow." Even the villains are endearing--especially Lynn Andrews as the alcoholic orphanage matron Miss Hannigan, who's as hopeful as Annie in her sociopathic way. --Tony Adler

Price: $17.50-$97.50


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