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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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Thank you so much for posting this. I was anxiously awaiting to hear something. While most of the US was worrying about the presidential debates, i was awaiting something like this.

Out of all of the broadway Annies who would  you say she sounded the most like?

Allison Smith probably, it's a very clear bright sounding belt.

I would have to say that as soon as I heard her, her tone reminded me of McArdle.

I really, really wishing to see some photos. What do the costumes look like? Particularly the orphan's costumes?

Here's a question I know Jamey would be interested in knowing the answer to, too: is "Why Change a Thing?" in this production?

None of the new songs are in it, which is good because the production is 2.5 hours as it is and the second act already "feels" long.  But it was the first performance and being an actor myself, i know that the director is going to try to make the cues faster and take out some of the dead air to try to tighten the pacing.  If they were going to add anything, I would want them to put in "You Make Me Happy".  That was in the 20th for Nell Carter and I actually really liked it.

Thanks for the response, Tony. I'm not familiar with "You Make Me Happy" - that's not the same as "When You Smile" from Annie Warbucks, is it? I'll have to see if someone out there has put it up on YouTube.

No, if you have the 30th cd, it's the song Kathie Lee Gifford sings but with different lyrics, it was written for Nell Carter and Hannigan sings it when Grace comes to have Hannigan sign the adoption papers.

Oh, "Don't Mess with Mother"? That's one I don't care for on the 30th CD, so I'd be interested in hearing different lyrics. (I still haven't gotten around to searching for it on YouTube yet!) Thanks for the reply.

Please, if someone will go to to the show, take photos of the show or take a video.

Just hope Patti LuPone doesn't see this

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