Annie The Musical

Annie The Musical • May 10, 2024 • Eccles Theater

Reviewed by Alisha Gregson

Photos Courtesy of Broadway at the Eccles/ MurphyMade

The May 10, 2024 performance of “Annie” at Eccles Theatre in Salt Lake City was a delightful and heartwarming experience that captivated both children and adults alike. This run of the beloved musical, directed by Jenn Thompson, who herself played an orphan in the original Broadway production, was full of charm and energy.

Whenever I have the opportunity to attend any theatre production, I like to arrive with an open mind and no expectations. This usually makes the experience more enjoyable. I especially love when I get to see a show I know nothing about. With “Annie” however, I found that was impossible. Annie the Musical has been around since 1977, and the film adaptation came out in 1982. Annie has become a very well-known and loved classic. Like so many others, I grew up watching Annie both on the screen and on the stage. 

As I sat waiting for the opening scene, I found myself full of anticipation. I thought of everything I hoped to see. Of course, I was looking forward to all the popular songs, but I was also expecting very specific costumes, hairstyles, and choreography. While I typically don’t mind when musicals make some changes, I was hoping this performance would stay true to the original. I am happy to report that the current production of Annie, with book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, and lyrics by Martin Charnin lived up to, and exceeded all my expectations.

I have heard it said that in theater, you only notice the orchestra when it’s bad. That was certainly not the case with Annie. As the lights dimmed and the notes of the iconic feel-good song “Tomorrow” filled the venue, the orchestra felt like another member of the cast. Their musical performance would remain captivating and flawless throughout the entire evening.

I was impressed with how well the show was cast. Each role seemed to be filled perfectly. Rainier (Rainey) Trevino starred as Annie, bringing the perfect amount of spunk and optimism to the stage. With her powerful voice, Trevino won the hearts of the audience as she embodied her character’s hopeful spirit.  Her performance of “Maybe,” was especially moving. Sharing the spotlight was Christopher Swan as Daddy Warbucks. Swan was made to play the role of the business-centric, yet tenderhearted billionaire, who is quickly won over by Annie. Their stellar performance of “I Don’t Need Anything But You,”  was a hit with the audience.

University of Utah alum, Stefanie Londino, delivered a standout performance as the boozy and spiteful Miss Hannigan. A humorous character that the audience loves to hate. her performance of “Little Girls” was especially entertaining. The ensemble of orphans, particularly during the exciting and well-choreographed “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” provided some of the most energetic and memorable moments of the show. The choreography by Patricia Wilcox was exceptional, giving the young cast members  an opportunity to display their impressive talents. This engaging performance set a high bar for the rest of the show. 

Amongst the highly talented cast, it was an understudy who stood out and stole the show any time they took the stage. Kevin received the most love from the audience as he filled in for Seamus as Sandy, the stray dog Annie bonds with. The audience was so excited to see a real dog on stage and fell in love with him immediately. Kevin was adorable. The only time I have ever seen a better Sandy in Annie was 7 years ago, when my niece played the role in her elementary school production. (I might be biased.) 

From the bleak orphanage and city streets to the grand and high class Warbucks mansion, the sets and costumes were all well crafted and visually impressive. Each detail enhanced the storytelling and kept the crowd drawn in throughout the entirety of the uplifting rags to riches show. 

Overall, the performance of Annie at Eccles Theatre was incredible. It was visually and emotionally engaging, with top notch talent, flawless choreography, and thoughtful set design. I enjoyed seeing so many children in the audience, and loved the opportunity to see the fun and timeless musical on stage. 

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