I’m going to admit it right here, right on your computer or phone screen right now. I’ve always loved Annie. The movie always brought a smile to my face and the music is instantly recognizable and infectious. When Cardinal Music Productions announced that they were bringing Annie to Windsor, I was excited to finally see the stage version.
One of the most successful musicals, this is the heart-warming tale of Annie’s adventures, her escape from the orphanage and the wicked Miss Hannigan to a new life with Daddy Warbucks. With a cast of more than 30, many of them children, this Cardinal production was a big undertaking – they made it look like Easy Street.
Almost right from the start, this felt nothing like the movie and in the end, it was very different from the movie. But different in a great way. Staying true to the 1930’s, it was presented as if it was an actual 1930s musical with a huge jazzy, big band soundtrack. There was a whack load of songs that are not in the film version, which gives fans of the film a bit of a bonus. Music director Regan White did an incredible job coordinating such a huge cast of mainly “little girls”.
From stellar costumes designed by Sherry Bondy to a simple stage with a giant projected background, this show felt much bigger than the movie. It was like a bombastic attack of the senses, both visual and audible and it just might be the biggest surprise Cardinal Music has ever created.
The children were marvelous. The big chorus line songs like Hard Knock Life and You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile were sensational. Peyton Del Papa was delightful as Annie – her voice was perfect for the part and her cute as a button face made Annie come to life. Adult standouts included a powerful Daddy Warbucks from Joseph Cardinal, some astounding vocals by Regan White as Grace Farrell, a fun Rooster from Dave Burrows and a super funny performance from Lindsay Norris, who gave good ol’ Miss Hannigan the perfect amount of outlandish drunkenness.
While the basics of the story are the same, the musical version told a much cleaner story than the movie and really brought Annie to a whole new level for me. Cardinal and the gang have created an easy to watch and fun musical that anyone can enjoy.
Annie continues in Windsor at The Green Room Theatre in E.J. Lajeunesse for three more performances, with shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 27-29). Tickets are $25 available at the Cardinal Music box office at 2569-B Jefferson Blvd. or at the door. For more information visit www.cardinalmusicproductions.com.
JOE CARDINAL Director and producer
REGAN WHITE Music Director
NINA FASULLO Choreographer
SHERRY BONDY Costume Designer
DAVE BURROWS Assist Director
CYNDY SILVIUS Stage Manager
DAVE BURROWS, JOE CARDINAL, CYNDY SILVIUS Props
TIM HUGHES Lighting and Operator
JOE CARDINAL Sound Design
DARIEN PARE Sound Engineer and Computer Operator
ED SAVOIE Scenic Projections and Computer Operator
LINDA GARRISI Makeup Artist
CHRISTOPHER LAWRENCE-MENARD Poster/Program
AJ STEAD Front of House Manager
PEYTON DEL PAPA as Annie
JOE CARDINAL as Warbucks
REGAN WHITE as Grace Farrell
LINDSAY NORRIS as Miss Hannigan
DAVE BURROWS as Rooster, Bert Healy
NINA FASULLO as Lily, Star-To-Be, Ensemble
JAMES KNEELY as FDR
GREG GEORGE as Drake, Ensemble
ROB DEL PAPA as Lt. Ward, Judge Brandeis, Harold L. Ickes, Ensemble
JIM PETERMAN as Wacky, Cordell Hull, Ensemble
BRANDON PRESLEY as Bundles, Louis Howe, Ensemble
JOHN GARSWOOD as Henry, Ensemble
RACHEL KAIMAN as Sophie, Mrs. Pugh, Boylan Sister, Francis Perkins, Ensemble
JEN GURNIAK as Apple Seller, Mrs. Greer, Boylan Sister, Ensemble
BAYLEIGH FRASER as Assistant Dog Catcher, Annette, Boylan Sister, Ensemble
JEN BONDY as Dog Catcher, Sound-Effects-Woman, Ensemble
CHANTEL PARE as Orphan, Wacky’s Dummy, Cecille, Ensemble
BROOKE DOMINGUEZ as Duffy, Ensemble
ERYNN MCGUINNESS as Pepper, Ensemble
CAMRYN PUMFORD as Molly
KOEN KAVANAUGH as Tessie
EMMA OSLEY as July, Ensemble
JULIET LEWSAW as Kate
LIORA MECHANIC as Orphan
LILY TEPPERMAN as Orphan
CHARLENE NORRIS as Orphan
AVERY NEUFELD as Orphan
ALYVVEA BEEMER as Orphan
LEILA QUINLAN as Orphan
LIAH HOWARD as Orphan, Ensemble
MELODY HEARN as Orphan, Ensemble
KAIYA TAYLOR as Orphan, Ensemble
JUSTIN DAVIS as Ensemble