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Ok everyone, here it is my review of the first preview of the 35th Revival.  If you want to be surprised by the new details of the show if you're planning to see it, then don't read this.

Let me start by saying that this is the most beautiful production of Annie that you will ever see.  The sets and lights are AMAZING! It will be nominated for Tony Awards for sure.

Now, this production is nothing like the original production as far as staging and choreography so when you see it you have to leave all the ideas at the door, this is a fresh new production and it's fun.

The first thing is that there is no overture! They show a 1930s newsreel over bits and pieces of "overture" but the overture we know is not there.  Actually, tomorrow is very played down in the production, they don't even sing it at the bows which I was very disappointed about.  And all of the orchestrations are new so nothing really sounds like the cd.

Lila Crawford is a superior Annie.  Her singing is great and she is a fabulous actress (I knew this already since I worked with her).  James has the girls all doing "New York" accents and for the most part they are good but it can be hit or miss.  Also, this Annie has long curly hair to her shoulders and when she gets "gussied" up she comes out looking like Annie from the 1999 Disney movie, so there is no red afro wig or traditional Annie dress in this production.

Katie and Anthony are great as Hannigan and Warbucks.  Katie really makes Hannigan her own, she a funny drunk and still has sex appeal, and she got lots of laugh.  Little Girls is a great number and they do some really fun stuff with the Orphans.  They've also added a few orphans to Easy Street (can't really explain it, you just have to see it).

Anthony is a great Warbucks, you can tell that he's played it a lot because it is very natural for him. The cast is spectacular in everyway.

For me the part I did not like was the choreography. For instance Never Fully Dressed is barely a dance number for the orphans, but then New Deal for Christmas has been turned into a tap number?! It was fun, but at the same time, I wasn't blown away by the movement of the piece.  

Oh, and sorry, but there are no rainbow dresses for the orphans at the end.

It is a really fun production and very smart and creative, you just can't go into it thinking that it's going to be like the other revivals because Martin Charnin did not direct it so it has fresh ideas which help bring it some much needed energy.  It's going to get great reviews and it should run at least to the Tony Awards in June.

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Lilla had spunk?, she had a big belt? and the dress was like the one she used in Tony Awards? 

Aww I always look forward to the overture. Sounds like it has good and bad things about it. I'm all for changes and keeping a show fresh but some things should just never be touched. I think the red dress should be the same. And a long curly wig sounds horrible... it sounds like the wig from Annie 2: A royal adventure.

Lilla is very spunky and she is a belting Annie so there is no need to worry there.  The dress is different than the Tony Awards.  It looks like the dress in the 1999 movie.  And her wig is a natural look. So basically when they gussy her up they just make it look like they give her a haircut, again, this version is very naturalistic not a whole lot of cartoony stuff about.

It sounds cool, and different enough to warrant a CD release maybe? (hoping with fingers crossed!)

The "overture" sounds intriguing. I don't suppose there are any sound snippets of the old "Little Orphan Annie" radio theme, are there? (I guess that might be too "meta" - like Annie drinking Ovaltine in Annie 2!)

Are there any major changes that you noticed to the book or dialogue? I love the music as much as anyone, but I've been especially intrigued by hints about "rebuilding the characters from the ground up," and how Lapine might be an influenceo n that.

So envious that you got to see it! Thanks for the review!

There are no "major" changes.  Those of us who know the original script like the back of our hands (like myself) will notice some of the jokes have been changed and I think they did that because in the 70s there were people alive who still remembered the 30s, not so much now so they have to change some things so that more people might understand.  The Harpo Marx joke is still there, but the laughs are nowhere near as big as they would have been in 1977.  And they've changed the Mona Lisa painting to a Picasso...and that joke doesn't work at all to me, I still think the Mona Lisa is a better joke to use that Picasso's three musicians.  But that is being nit picky.  

I guess the characters have been reshaped in a way.  Hanningan, is mean, but more so because she is just a lush and she never paddles or even talks about hitting kids in this version and she is blonde.  Grace is a typical mousy secretary with glasses and she is a brunette. And Lilly is Chinese! Which is very funny but then at the end they don't even comment on it when she pretends to be Annie's mother, that to me was weird, at least make a joke about it or something.

I'm not sure how any reference to the actress' ethnicity could come across as anything but problematic - we'd probably hear cries of "racism" even if they weren't well founded. And since Lily and Rooster are in disguise as the Mudges, that's likely the "in-universe" explanation for any lack of comment.

The Mona Lisa is so iconic, I would've voted for keeping it - but they didn't ask me! I do love that Harpo Marx moment - too bad it's not getting big laughs anymore.

I'm of a mixed mind about hearing that Miss Hannigan never makes physical threats against the orphans. I can guess the creative team was being sensitive to issues of child abuse, and that's commendable; on the other hand, (a) this is a fictional story, and (b) Miss Hannigan is, in fact, mean, and what says mean like hitting a kid? Of course, neglect and emotional and verbal abuse are bad enough, so it's not as though I would've fought to keep it in...

Lou Gehrig or Babe Ruth? Dillinger or Capone? Deusenbergs? :)

Babe Ruth, Dillinger, Deusenbergs are all still there.  Actually they use a lot of actual 1930s newsreel footage in the show and Babe Ruth is in it.

When I saw the Les Miserables National Tour the Eponine was black but her parents were white as well as the kid playing the younger version...some things just get overlooked in theater

See, I think Miss Hannigan locking Annie in the cellar is *more* sinister. Like you say, emotional, verbal abuse and neglect are bad enough, and not knowing how long you'll be in a damp, dark, dingy dungeon? Whereas paddling was common in the '30s. But there's an even bigger reason to me.

Bundles, the daily milkman, ice man (yes, they'd have a man delivering ice daily or at leat every other day), etc. the mailman, all could notice things. If she's that drunk, they're going to be watching for signs of abuse, maybe not *really* eagle-eyed but enough to make sure there's no black eyes, bruises in weird places, blood, etc.. *Especially* since they're not in school. Physical punishment was more common then, but her drinking would cue them in that there *could* be cases where it's excessive.

Miss Hannigan's a schemer. She plays on this, tells people, "Heey, look, no bruises, kids are safe, they're learning all their subjects with me." (Who cares if they're the ones who have to teach themselves from an old 1922 almanac and other stuff.) "Nothing to see her."

This is why she's able to get away with the sweatshop. Because everyone's looking at something else and seeing it's okay. Whereas if she did something just once and a kid said they got hit for not sewing fast enough, she'd have the Board of Orphans sticking their noses in there... and she does *not* want that!

That said, she could still threaten some and yet not do it, like Annie says in the '99 movie. And,that's the beauty of theater, that we can imagine it differently. Sitcoms give us 1/2 hour out of 168, or 1/336th, of their lives each week. A play gives us a glimpse of how it's been but tells a broader story that we can imagien anything within reason with.

I want a review on those cute dogs too.  Did they put the Sandy understudy( Casey?) in the dog catcher scene.  Bet the audience loved them! Did they have Bill train Sunny to do different things than in the Martin Charnin productions?  I guess that would not change. 

Both dogs are in it and they basically do the same things that every Sandy does, so nothing much has changed there, they give him an extra cross or two  and that's about it.  There really is only so much a dog can do onstage without it getting too complicated and risky.

sounds fresh. Can't wait to hear more of it.

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