Total Pageviews

Friday, December 27, 2013

Annie at The Beck Center for the Arts - Theatre Blog

First of all, you should know I love the musical Annie. It was the first show I ever performed in back in 1998. I was a late bloomer in theatre. My first role was Bert Healy. Not that you needed to know that.
Annie, currently running at the Beck Center is great.

Scott Spence, Martin Cespedes, and Larry Goodpaster have been producing musicals at the Beck Center since 30 B.C.  And the Christmas slot has been a rotation of sure fire musicals to ring in the new year, and ring the cash registers. I think they did a tremendous job with this production. Annie II, the second coming was new and improved and rocked the house.

When people usually think of the young kid playing Annie, it would be easy to think that the song Tomorrow is the one song they have to nail to get the part. But I think the real test is Maybe. It is a tough song with enough emotion to create a flood of hugging your children because you never want to let them go.  Anna Barrett is wonderful in this role. She has such a commanding presence and as my mother used to say "I never thought for a moment that she didn't know what she was doing or singing". You got it right mom. She was a joy to watch and held her own against some pretty impressive performers around her. 

The orphans as a whole were so confident and charged with energy, they should run Hillary's field campaign in 2016. There ability to handle the sharp crisp choreography of the brisk Hard Knock Life was impressive. It is so amazing to watch young actors go for it. This group is completely fearless and obviously Patty Lupone carried them all to term.

Can I just say how cute Buckley is as Sandy. Ok, I think I am done.

Lenne Snively ate the role of  Miss Hannigan for breakfast, lunch and dinner.. What a fantastic portrayal of this nut case of a woman. Vocals that could change Madame Butterfly back into a cocoon. Her character was ramped up from last year and dead on. And I must say my favorite nuance was the head banging on the door. Nice touch.

The solo in N.Y.C. is always an interesting one. It is such a nice feature if someone can nail it. Well not only did Carleigh Spence nail it, she used a nail gun. This young actress grows every time I see her. It is such a thrill to see someone with so much talent and potential for growth, that you want to give her a scholarship at the end of the show and tell her "GO FOR IT!!"

When Rooster and Lily St. Regis come into the scene, the voltage meter takes a sudden spike. Matthew Ryan Thompson was killing me with his performance. Great new character choices. His hips seemed to be made out of bungee cords, and the way he flipped his hair around, I am surprised it didn't knock St. Regis off her hotel balcony.  Complementing that fabulous trainwreck is Molly Huey at Lily St. Regis, a skyscraper of ditz and glitz and vacant floors. Her character was a hoot and a half.

So what happens when you combine Hannigan, Rooster, and Lily together on stage. You get the first "Bring down the house" number, Easy Street. These three tossed a musical staged salad that got lettuce on everyone. It was terrific.

So there is Daddy Warbucks. And then there is Gilgamesh Taggett. I was incredibly impressed with this performance. There was a beautiful mixture of gruff, power, republican aroma which melded into a man with cracks in the armor, which he let us see. His voice has never sounded better and he was able to channel any emotion with deft vocals and the acting chops, that would cause to want to rent a room in the guesthouse just to hear him sing in the shower.

Countering Mr. Warbucks is Grace Farrell played deftly by Caitlin Elizabeth Reilly. I think Grace is a very hard role to perform fulfillingly. If that is a word. But Caitlin created a character that holds up against the rest of the crazy characters around her. She unselfishly makes the others stand out a little more with their uniqueness. If there is an anchor to this production, she made herself one.

Act One flew by. The pacing was just what the doctor ordered for all the kids that were planning there next raid on the concession stand at intermission.

Trey Gilpin was a scream as Bert Healy. I never knew he had so many teeth. He was a hoot and a holler guiding the scene setting up the kick ass second "Bring down the house" number which is the reprise of the orphans singing and dancing Fully Dressed.  They were like musical navy seals that had a mission to accomplish, which was to blow the audience away. And they did just that.

The reprise of Easy Street was highlighted for me by the scene prior to it. I don't think I will ever not laugh when I hear someone say CANADA. Thank you Mr. Thompson for that hilarious quirk.

There is the back to back songs of Something Was Missing and I Don't Need Anything But You. Gilgamesh and Anna developed these numbers into a beautiful bridge that the audience emotionally walked over to grand effect. The magic between these two performances and genuine and lovely.

This show was filled with great characters and wonderful voices. The crowd loved it. And in the end, that is what it is all about. Creating theatre to take us somewhere awesome and leave us feeling better about life, or stimulating conversation where we try to convince each other we know the meaning of life. Bravo

No comments:

Post a Comment