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A packed crowd teeming with kids donning their holiday velvet one last time this season were treated to a joyous evening of pure pleasure tonight at the Opera House.  From the moment the lights in the theatre dimmed and the first few notes of “Tomorrow” lilted from the brass section of the well-equipped orchestra during the overture, enthrallment ensued.

Broadway Live & the Opera House Fund presented Annie at the Lexington Opera House this weekend.

This touring production, with over 400 performances under its belt and still going strong, has been well documented as bringing back the original charm of the 1977 iconic original.  It is perfect.

You don’t always get attention to detail and  lavishness in design, production, and execution in shows designed from the get-go to spend so many months on the road.  Martin Charnin, director of the original Tony Award Winning musical, brought his original design team back together to ensure that this Annie is fully dressed, and with smiles to spare.  

The entire cast is solidly ovation worthy. Gilgamesh Taggett’s Daddy Warbucks is the perfect blend of bluster and tenderness, and Lynn Andrews’ Miss Hannigan not only has perfect comic timing, but a fantastic singing voice, not always the case in this role.  

New to the cast since Christmas are several new orphans making their touring debuts, including a freckle-faced wonder, Heidi Gray.  The 11-year-old from Augusta, Georgia is right at home on the stage. You can’t have a good Annie without a great Annie. Aptly named Heidi was born to play this particular orphan. It’s hard to believe she only started in this role two weeks ago.

This may very well turn out to be the top-selling production of the Broadway Live season this year. It deserves to be. A beautiful set, lighting design, and classic costuming. A top-notch cast. An honest to goodness orchestra in the pit.

It warms my soul to think about how many kids in the audience this weekend are getting their first taste of Broadway in such a beautiful package.

Those kids will be back again. And someday they’ll bring their kids.

That’s what Annie has been doing for nearly 40 years. Thank goodness.

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