One of the most beloved musicals, Annie, is currently being performed this week only at Atlanta’s fabulous Fox Theatre with the last performance being held on Sunday, January 22nd. Since 1977, audiences and critics alike have been enjoying this Broadway staple based upon the popular Harold Gray comic strip Little Orphan Annie. In its latest incarnation, Sally Struthers plays Miss Hannigan, and local Georgia girls were selected for Annie’s cohorts at the Municipal Girls Orphanage in New York. Theater of the Stars produced this version of Annie with mostly local professional actors and youth.
The play was superb and Struthers portrayal of mean, goofy, alcoholic Miss Hannigan really stole the show! The audience, of course, loved little, redheaded darling Annie, whose straight, natural redhead was a deviation from curly headed Annies of yesteryear. (I was not a fan of this deviation as it was hard to pick her out during the opening orphanage scene. Although, classic curly headed Annie did make an appearance at one point during the show.) A trained rescue dog got to play the part of Annie’s dog Sandy and the audience just cooed and awed every time that Sandy scurried on and off stage. Grace Farrell was a lovely, sweetheart and “Daddy” Warbucks was debonair. It was everything you could have hoped for in an Annie performance and everything charming that parents could have hope for for their little girls’ first theatre experience. All the little girls were dressed up in fancy dresses (and some in tutus) for the opening night of Annie and a few even brought their baby dolls with them. Always a heart warmer when it’s cold and ugly outside, go see Annie at the Fox Theatre if you need some cheering up from this gloomy Atlanta winter. And we can only hope that like Annie sings, “the sun will come out tomorrow,” for these cold January days in Atlanta.
A brief synopsis: The play is set during The Drepression with Franklin D. Roosevelt as president. An 11-year old girl named Annie lives in New York’s Municipal Girls Orphanage, which is run by Miss Hannigan (a middle aged, alcoholic who is both childlike and abusive to the children at the orphanage). Annie wears half a locket and treasures a note from her birth parents telling her that they will come back for her someday with the other half of the locket. Grace Farrell, assistant to billionaire Oliver Warbucks, comes to the orphanage looking for a child for Warbucks (and staff) to foster for two weeks during the Christmas holiday. She chooses Annie. Annie warms the heart of businessman Warbucks and he asks to adopt her, but Annie politely tells him that she is waiting on her real birth parents. Warbucks and Annie go on the popular Bert Healy radio show and announce that they are looking for her birth parents and Warbucks offers the birth parents a $50,000 reward. Then Warbucks takes Annie to visit the president during one of his business meetings. Annie charms the president and his staff. Meanwhile, back at the Warbucks estate, Farrell interviews hundreds of people claiming to be Annie’s parents, but none turn out to be true. A little earlier, Miss Hannigan got a visit from her no good, former jailbird brother “Rooster” Hannigan and his girlfriend Lily St. Regis. The three hatch a plan to get their hands on the reward for Annie’s birth parents. And, so as not to spoil the ending, you will just have to go see the play for yourself at the fabulous Fox Theatre.
Annie is playing at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre from Tuesday, January 17th to Sunday, January 22nd.
January 17th – 20th show starts at 8 p.m.
January 21st show starts at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
January 22nd show starts at 1:30 p.m.
The Fox Theatre – Atlanta
660 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30308