By Jennifer Rogers
Aw gee! Do you really want to go see a musical production that’s repeatedly made its way around stages throughout the country for the past 35 years?
With the frantic holidays unfolding and post-election drama lingering, Lyric Arts 35th Anniversary production of Annie is just the light-hearted shot of optimism we could all use to boost our spirits and lift our hearts.
Set in 1933 during the heart of the Great Depression, the beloved rags-to-riches tale follows eleven-year-old Annie from her everyday life at the New York City Municipal Orphanage to an exciting new world at the Warbucks Mansion on Park Avenue. Annie and billionaire Oliver Warbucks become fast friends as they embark on a thrilling adventure to find Annie’s birth parents.
As the heartwarming tale unfolds, Director Rebecca Rizzio’s own feelings of optimism and hope, as well as a genuine love for the story, shine through. Rizzio and the artistic staff of Annie left no stone unturned. Staying true to the original story, the costumes and set design are appropriately modest, yet effective, allowing the audience to focus on the character-driven heart of the story. Annie’s musical numbers, “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “Maybe,” and “Tomorrow” are just a few of the timeless pieces that work well to reinforce the show’s messages of eternal optimism and human resilience.
Lyric’s casting of Annie is spot on. Caroline Kaiser, as Miss Hannigan, and Adam Rousar, as Hannigan’s brother Rooster, lend solid support and bring just the right doses of comedic villainy without going over the top. Nine-year-old Brayli Carmichael’s innocent portrayal of youngest orphan Molly will melt your heart. And we can’t forget about Annie. Regan Duffy earns top kudos for her feisty, yet poignant, portrayal of the spunky red-headed heroine.
Lyric Arts’ 35th Anniversary production of Annie is delightful and charming. And it successfully delivers just the kind of positive mindset that underscores the original story’s overarching theme—if life hands you lemons, make lemonade!
Even though most of us know how the story ends, you can bet your bottom dollar that after attending the Lyric Arts production, you will leave Annie with a spring in your step and a smile in your heart.
A Little Bit about Jennifer: Jennifer Rogers holds a B.A. in Writing and has recently been published in Minnesota Parent magazine. In her spare time, Jennifer is working on a young adult fiction novel. She also enjoys spending time with her family, participating in the variety of outdoor adventures that accompany the diverse seasons of Minnesota.