My biggest fear, before seeing the current revival of Annie, was that some of the songs and scenes from the 1982 movie, starring Albert Finney and Carol Burnett, might make their way into the new version. Thankfully, my fears were unfounded, and the 2012 production contains just enough updates to breathe new life into the play while preserving the beloved aspects that made so many fall in love with it in 1977.
For example, the “Hard Knock Life” routine has been smartly overhauled, with the individual metal-bucket props replaced by heavy-string mop heads wielded across the stage by the orphans. Later, gone are the orphans’ multi-colored iterations of Annie’s signature red dress, compliments of Daddy Warbucks, and in are white-and-blue letterman sweaters emblazoned with a prominent W.
The role of Molly, the littlest orphan, seems to more robust in the current version, and Emily Rosenfeld hams it up to the delight of the audience. Anthony Warlow, as Daddy Warbucks, delivers flawless vocals. And Sunny, who plays the part of stray-dog Sandy, performs pretty well for a recently rescued pooch.
The night we attended, which was Thursday, November 29, 2012, the role of Annie was played by standby Jaidyn Young, who performed as though she could do it in her sleep, without one perceptible misstep. In fact, Young received a well-deserved standing ovation during the curtain calls.
The newest production of Annie is first-rate and deserves a long run on Broadway, perhaps even longer than the nearly six years of the original version. These days, there are plenty of folks who need to know that the sun will come out tomorrow.