[Review] Annie the Musical @ Marina Bay Sands

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“When I’m stuck with a day that’s grey and lonely
I just stick up my chin and grin and say, oh
The sun will come out tomorrow
So you gotta hang on
’til tomorrow, come what may!”

– “Tomorrow”, the eternally optimistic anthem from ANNIE

ANNIE is just the musical anyone who needs some cheering up should go watch. Unbendingly effervescent Annie, a red-haired little girl who lived in an orphanage during the worst days of America’s Great Depression, will convince you that life is worth living no matter your lot.

Annie and a proper sand-coloured Sandy. (Credit: BASE Entertainment)
Annie and a proper sand-coloured Sandy. (Credit: BASE Entertainment)

In this production of award-winning Broadway musical ANNIE, you’ll meet a dog called Sandy whose fur begs otherwise, an Annie (Heidi Gray) whose natural hair isn’t very red or curly, and a Miss Hannigan (Lynn Andrews) who is actually, in my humble opinion, so lovably evil, she steals the show.

Five-year-old Asher and I caught the show on its opening night on August 24 (sorry for the tardy review), which featured its full cast starring Gray, an 11-year-old newcomer from Georgia, United States, making her tour debut. The orphans are Sage Bentley as Tessie, Angelina Carballo as Kate, Lynn Masako Cheng as Duffy, LillyBea Ireland as Pepper, Bridget Carly Marsh as July and Alyssa Emily Marvin as Molly. Six young girls – out of which two are Singaporean – were chosen from among 170 children who answered local audition calls earlier in June, but they perform only up to eight shows per week, and opening night wasn’t one of them.

The orphan girls. (Credit: BASE Entertainment)
The orphan girls. (Credit: BASE Entertainment)

Directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin for the 19th time, this production of ANNIE is a brand new physical incarnation of the iconic Tony Award ® -winning original. Inspired by a comic strip called Little Orphan Annie, which ran in the New York Daily News in 1924, ANNIE is a feel-good rags-to-riches story of an orphan who escaped the ardours of a New York orphanage for the comforts of a billionaire’s home.

The cheesy storyline (sorry, Tony) is predictable but it’s the cast who endear the show to the audience. For first-timers like Asher and myself, we loved the music, the pitch-perfect singing, enthusiastic performance and comedic timing. But one thing we couldn’t understand was why oh why did Annie have to change into a Ronald McDonald wig right after she agreed to becoming the adopted daughter of Oliver Warbucks (Gilgamesh Taggett), the abovementioned billionaire?

Annie and Papa Warbucks. (Credit: BASE Entertainment)
Annie and Papa Warbucks. (Credit: BASE Entertainment)

The only reasonable reason for her to do so, I figured, was so that she could pay proper tribute to the comic strip character and the original Tony-winning rendition of the 1977 staging of the musical. And not because becoming a potential heiress meant being able to upkeep a high maintenance ‘do. After she put on that red dress and that awful wig, Asher kept asking me when she was going to take it off.

For me, Andrews as the orphanage manager Miss Hannigan was the highlight of the evening. Her comical wide eyes, dramatic hand gestures and perfect timing just shout: I love being Miss Hannigan! She’s not your usual one-dimensional villain. Yes, she’s cynical and hard of heart, but she’s also ever-hopeful at snagging an eligible bachelor or landing on “Easy Street” (watch her use her corpulence to full effect when she performs that song!).

Lynn Andrews as the querulous Miss Hannigan. (Credit: BASE Entertainment)
Lynn Andrews as the querulous Miss Hannigan. (Credit: BASE Entertainment)

I would also say that my Singaporean-trained, meritocratic conscience isn’t very comfortable with the premise that material riches are the answer to life’s problems, but not many shows these days are kid-friendly, so what the hey. As long as your kid isn’t telling you that they are not happy because you aren’t making a gazillion dollars like Daddy Warbucks, an evening of a cheery musical won’t do damage to your child’s moral upbringing.

The musical ends its run on Sep 11, which is this Sunday, so hurry and book your tickets now!

Event Date
Wed, 24 Aug – Sun, 11 Sep 2016
Tue – Fri: 7.30pm
Sat: 2pm & 7.30pm
Sun: 1pm & 6pm

Venue
Grand Theatre, MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands

Ticket Pricing
(Excludes Booking Fee)
VIP Reserve : S$175
A Reserve : S$155
B Reserve : S$125
C Reserve : S$95
D Reserve : S$65
VIP Box (For 4 seats): S$700
Box Seats(For 4 seats): S$380

Visit the official website for more ticketing details.

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