(Cover Photo: The CAST of "ANNIE" now playing at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. through February 26, 2023. Photo Credit Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade)
By Kevin T. Baldwin
“Yesterday was plain awful, but that's not now, that's then." - Annie and Warbucks
Book by Thomas Meehan
Music by Charles Strouse
Lyrics by Martin Charnin
Directed by Jenn Thompson
Director of Production Heather Chockley
Music Director Elaine Davidson
Choreographer Patricia Wilcox
Cast Includes: Ellie Pulsifer – Annie; Stefanie Londino - Miss Hannigan; Christopher Swan - Daddy Warbucks; Nick Bernardi - Rooster Hannigan; Krista Curry – Lily; Julia Nicole Hunter - Grace Farrell; Mark Woodard - FDR, U/S Oliver Warbucks; Riglee Ruth Bryson - Pepper, U/S Annie; Bronte Harrison – Molly; Vivianne Neely - July, U/S Annie; Izzy Pike - Kate, U/S Molly; Kenzie Rees – Duffy; Valeria Velasco - Tessie, U/S Molly; Kolten Bell - Swing, Dance Captain; Bradley Ford Betros - Ensemble, U/S FDR; Luther Brooks IV - Ensemble, U/S Rooster Hannigan; Harrison Drake - Ensemble, Drake, U/S FDR, U/S Oliver Warbucks; Laura Elizabeth Flanagan - Ensemble, U/S Grace Farrell, U/S Miss Hannigan; Jataria Heyward - Ensemble, Star To Be; Carly Ann Moore - Swing, U/S Lily; Kevin Ivey Morrison – Ensemble; Leeanna Rubin - Ensemble, U/S Miss Hannigan; Andrew Scoggin - Ensemble, Bert Healy, U/S Rooster Hannigan; Sophie Stromberg - Swing, Assistant Dance Captain; Kaley Were - Ensemble, U/S Grace Farrell, U/S Lily; Addison – Sandy; Georgie - U/S Sandy
(NOTE: Information obtained from tour website subject to change)
Additional Creative Team:
Wilson Chin - Scenic Design; Alejo Vietti - Costume Design; Philip Rosenberg - Lighting Design; Ken Travis - Sound Design; Ashley Rae Callahan - Hair and Wig Design; William Berloni - Animal Director and Trainer; Talitha Fehr - Music Coordinator; Dan Delange – Orchestrations; Hardt Casting, LLC – Casting; Suzayn Mackenzie-Roy - Production Stage Manager; Kyle Dill - Assistant Stage Manager; Tegan Meyer - General Manager; Bond Theatrical - Tour Booking, Marketing & Publicity Direction; Neuro Tour - Physical Therapy; Music Theatre International – Licensee; Troika Entertainment, LLC - Producer & Tour Management; Kori Prior - Executive Producer; Vasi Laurence - Co-Producer
(NOTE: Information obtained from tour website subject to change)
February 23, 2023 at 7:30pm
February 24 & 25, 2023 at 8:00pm
February 25, 2023 at 2:00pm
February 26, 2023 at 1:00 pm and 6:30pm
"Leapin' Lizards!" The legendary musical "ANNIE" returns to the Hanover Theatre in Worcester with a vibrant cast and dazzling performances.
It is hard to believe but the iconic musical has been around since 1977.
An instant hit, "ANNIE THE MUSICAL" is credited with helping to re-ignite the business of Broadway itself hot on the heels of the 1975 other musical game-changer, "A Chorus Line."
Based on the popular Harold Gray comic strip "Little Orphan Annie" the musical is also loosely based on the 1885 poem "Little Orphant Annie" written by James Whitcomb Riley.
Critics of "ANNIE THE MUSICAL" have a tendency to put down the show as "syrupy" or "saccharine" or, for some reason, compared to other breakfast overindulgences.
Those critics, in addition to obviously being hungry, are also not totally incorrect.
However, along with those breakfast additives, "ANNIE" is also a musical overflowing with sincerity, warmth and, above all, an innocence far removed from many newer musicals prominent along today's Broadway landscape.
Some may consider that "innocence" as naiveté, but it really isn't. It is simply just a genuine concerted effort to provide a story that will entertain the entire family.
To quote an old 70s ad campaign the show is "Less filling...tastes great."
(Photo: Nick Bernardi, Stefanie Londino and Krista Curry dreaming about "Easy Street" from the musical "ANNIE" now playing at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. through February 26, 2023. Photo Credit Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade)
Winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, the show has become a family favorite and there is a solid fairy tale aspect about a child overcoming overwhelming obstacles just to obtain a little happiness in her life.
The musical adaptation features a Book by Thomas Meehan, Music by Charles Strouse with Lyrics by Martin Charnin.
Against the backdrop of America's Depression era and just before Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "New Deal," little orphan Annie (Ellie Pulsifer) breaks free from an orphanage for young girls run by miscreant manager Miss Hannigan (Stefanie Londino).
"ANNIE" is dead set on finding the parents who left her years ago on the doorstep of an orphanage.
Both Pulsifer and Londino are the vocal powerhouses of this show. Londino is hysterical and the villain Hannigan.
Hannigan is soon reunited with her fowl...uh, foul...foul-natured brother Rooster (Nick Bernardi) and his girlfriend accomplice Lily (Krista Curry) who, together, hatch a lame-brained scheme to scam billionaire Oliver Warbucks (Christopher Swan) who seeks to adopt young "ANNIE."
Bernardi and Curry have a wonderfully sizzling, sleazy rapport on stage and, with Londino, simply tear up the floorboards with the equally sleazy song, "Easy Street."
Occasionally going toe-to-toe with Miss Hannigan is her polar opposite Grace Farrell (Julia Nicole Hunter), Warbuck's devoted assistant who becomes an instant ally to young "ANNIE" and will do everything to see that the young orphan finds her much-deserved happiness.
Hunter is fully committed to the role of Grace. It is unfortunate that, when the musical was created, that the number of songs featuring Grace as a soloist were limited, as Hunter is a truly gifted vocalist.
Swan dominates as Warbucks and the reason he succeeds is that he does not seem to attempt the "Warbucks" cartoon caricature that, all too often, actors tend to play.
Instead, through the creative process and his own performance, Swan has made billionaire Warbucks a little more relatable. He provides a little more edge and delves more into the backstory of the orphan Warbucks himself once was. Again, something other actors tend to disregard.
(Photo: Jataria Heyward and the CAST of "ANNIE" now playing at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. through February 26, 2023. Photo Credit Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade)
The on stage chemistry Swan and Pulsifer share as Warbucks and "ANNIE" comes across as genuine affection, especially in their duet "I Don't Need Anything but You," Swan's solo, "Something Was Missing," and in the ensemble number "NYC."
Pulsifer's renditions of the iconic tunes "Maybe" and "Tomorrow" do not disappoint. Her comedic timing as the young orphan is also extremely impressive.
The entire creative team should be lauded for placing the entire backdrop setting of the "ANNIE" tour under a bridge in "NYC".
This decision was able to accentuate the creative choices made by Director Jenn Thompson, Director of Production Heather Chockley, Music Director Elaine Davidson and choreographer Patricia Wilcox.
Wilcox's overall choreography was absolutely riveting and the ensemble's execution flawless.
"ANNIE" audiences can expect to enjoy many musical highlights which include the show's staple numbers, "Hard Knock Life" and "You're Never Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile," well executed by the show's cast of adorably mischievous Orphans.
(Photo: The CAST of "ANNIE" now playing at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. through February 26, 2023. Photo Credit Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade)
Most of all, in the end, what keeps this musical coming back, time and time again, is that it is simply great fun - Fun to watch and fun to listen to, no matter what age you might be.
Whether you are a parent who grew up enjoying the show decades ago or a child seeing and falling in love with it for the first time, "ANNIE THE MUSICAL" entertains - and that is hardly something to "knock."
So, between now and February 26th, put on your best smiles and head over to the Hanover Theatre to see this heaping helping of a wonderful production.
Approximately 2 hours, 30 minutes with one intermission.
Kevin T. Baldwin is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA)
(Photo: CAST of the musical "ANNIE THE MUSICAL" playing at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. from February 23 through February 26, 2023. Photo Courtesy Hanover Theatre)
"ANNIE THE MUSICAL," directed by Jenn Thompson, features the iconic book and score, written by Tony Award®-winners Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin.
This celebration of family, optimism and the American spirit remains the ultimate cure for all the hard knocks life throws your way.
Unmistakably known as a timeless masterpiece, "ANNIE THE MUSICAL" has been capturing the hearts of audiences since 1976!
The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory presents the magical, the spectacular and the heartwarming story of ANNIE, an orphan whose happiness and positivity continues to remind generations that no matter how hard life can get sometimes, the "Sun Will Come out Tomorrow!"
This winter, The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory has put together a full schedule of shows from February 23rd through February 26th, with multiple times to choose from.
Be part of an evening where a magnificent story of love, family and positive outlook in life will have you laughing and singing.
Holding onto hope when times are tough can take an awful lot of determination, and sometimes, an awful lot of determination comes in a surprisingly small package.
Little Orphan Annie has reminded generations of theatergoers that sunshine is always right around the corner.
"Lovable Charming and Gutsy" New York Times
Purchase your tickets today! You will be glad you did!
Approximately 2 hours 45 minutes, including intermission
Audio Description services available at the Sunday, February 26 matinee performance, 1 pm
ASL available at the Sunday, February 26 evening performance, 6:30 pm (If you are using ASL services, please let the ticket office know when you are ready to purchase tickets, so we can place you in seats in front of the ASL interpreter.)
Most recent Hanover Theatre safety protocol details may be found here:
Worcester Center for Performing Arts is a registered not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, which owns and operates The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allow