Theater Info for the Washington DC region

The Madeira School Annie

By • Feb 25th, 2008 • Category: Cappies

Madeira’s production of Annie didn’t wait until tomorrow to shine. Last weekend, the girls at Madeira outdid themselves as orphans, maids, and even men of New York City.

Annie, originally based on a comic strip by Harold Gray, was adapted for the stage by Thomas Meehan, with music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin. The popular show, which won a Tony for best musical and ran six years on Broadway, tells the story of the orphan Annie (Sarah Glaser), who, after meeting the wealthy Mr. Warbucks (Jenny Walton), discovers a surprising world of wealth, meets the president, and finds parents in unexpected places.

Madeira’s production was anchored by strong individual performances as well as tight ensemble acting and strong singing, even from the many male characters portrayed by this all-female cast. Lighting, sound, and a student designed set all superbly assisted the actresses onstage.

Sarah Glaser, as Annie, captured the youthful optimism of her character in every smile, every gesture, and every song. Her unfaltering energy and purity of heart gave her character a truly endearing quality. In contrast, Alani Kravitz‘s portrayal of Ms. Hannigan was consistently cruel, pessimistic, and darkly funny. Her song “Little Girls” was vocally outstanding as well as comical.

The leads were supported beautifully by the orphan ensemble, who, in songs like “It’s a Hard Knock Life,” danced and sang their way to mischief, with all the gusto one might expect from a rowdy crowd of young orphans. Marian Wurzel stood out for her unique, energetic and wholeheartedly childlike portrayal of Molly, the youngest orphan. The dancer Rachel Fleming also excelled in a variety of dance styles while playing an assortment of ensemble roles.

An unseen stage crew ushered large set pieces on and off the stage, including some designed and painted beautifully by students Margaret Douglas, Samiah Choudhury, and Sarah Mayo. The lighting design highlighted the realistic, detailed set. Although scene transitions were sometimes long, they were executed silently and effectively without significantly detracting from the pace of the show.

Annie, with its mostly female cast and themes of prosperity, seemed more than appropriate for The Madeira School, and their production was nothing short of superb.

by Peter Hawes of Westfield

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