DPAC’s ‘Annie’ was spectacular

Reviewed by Rachel Teseneer
Times-News correspondent

   DURHAM — The hit musical “Annie” has transcended time, becoming one of the world’s most loved shows in Broadway history.
The little girl in the red dress that audiences fell in love with from its beginning is warming hearts even today with her wide-eyed innocence and fierce optimism. Directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin, this tour of “Annie” is just as spectacular as all the ones before it, bringing new faces and talent to stages across America.
Annie’s story begins in an orphanage in New York run by Miss Hannigan (Lynn Andrews). Annie (Issie Swickle) longs to find her parents and make her dream of having a family come true but discovers that such a task is harder than it seems. With help from the prosperous and pragmatic Mr. “Daddy” Warbucks (Gilgamesh Taggett), Annie embarks on a quest to find what the true meaning of love and family really is.
Swickle’s portrayal of title character Annie is raw and full of emotion. Her voice, though still young, has a mature tone as she sings hopeful and heartfelt songs; classics such as “Tomorrow” and “Maybe” are given new life and vigor by the charmingly bright quality of Swickle’s voice.
To accompany the kindhearted Annie, there must be a suitable antagonist. Conflict as well as comedy can be found in Andrews’ Miss Hannigan. An abrasive New York accent accompanies her flaunting movements and colorful, over-the-top reactions, while her powerhouse vocals ensnare audience’s ears. Andrews’ stage presence and commitment to character bring alive the dreary orphanage with gusto.
To offset the bitterness of Miss Hannigan, Taggett’s execution of Daddy Warbucks gracefully shows the transition from stiff and serious businessman to the warmhearted do-gooder, beloved by Annie and audiences alike. Interactions between Annie and Warbucks are heart-felt and moving as they share songs and dances, finding love in each other.
The success of “Annie” throughout the years can be attributed to many things: the lyrics and melodies boasted by the show are energetic and captivating, the characters are lively and witty, and the morals are centered on a sense of family and belonging. No matter how you see the show’s success, one thing is certain-watching “Annie” is a pure delight.
The show was performed Dec. 9-14, 2014, at Durham Performing Arts Center.

 Rachel Teseneer is a junior home-schooler and a Teens & Twenties writer.

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