Little Girls Night at the Olney Theatre for Annie was a huge success! I am no theatre expert, but I am an expert in Little Girls and my Little Girls (& their friends) were captivated by Annie at the Olney Theatre! We have seen many theatre performances geared towards children, but this was their first “real” theatre experience. We couldn’t have picked a better place, or play, to introduce our Little Girls to the joy of live theatre.
Annie holds a special place in my heart as childhood memories shared with some very special people in my life. Along with the nostalgia and sentiment, Annie carries some loaded subjects. I appreciate how the Olney Theatre addressed the historical context with a brief introduction to life in America during the depression-era.
It’s hard to beat the adorable curls and sweet tone of Aileen Quinn, who played Annie in the original Broadway production. Vivian Poe, as Annie, blew me out of the water with her first note. I can only imagine the headliner, Noelle Robinson, is of equal caliber. The cast of orphans were jaw-droopingly talented. My girls and their friends said their favorite part was when the kids were singing. I am with them. The cast was talented, but the young orphan girls stole the show.
There were some non-traditional casting choices that paid off! Daddy Warbucks, played by Kevin McAllister, was very convincing as both a busy business man and a tender father. The duality of his character is essential and the transformation was well executed. We didn’t get to see Noelle Robinson as Annie, but we have seen video proof of her Annie charisma. Quite frankly, in 2017 it would be strange to see an all white cast! I was pleased the relationship between Mr. Warbucks and Ms. Farrell took a backseat to the Annie and Daddy Warbucks storyline. It is really secondary to the father-daughter bond formation. It is hard to imagine anybody other than Carol Burnet in the role of Miss Hannigan, but Rachel Zampelli made it her own. Luckily, we met Ms. Zampelli in the lobby after the show and my Little Girls concluded she was a very nice person just pretending to mean to the orphan girls.
Olney Theatre is beautiful and family friendly. It was a beautiful moment with my two oldest girls that I will cherish. I also appreciate the opportunities it provided. My Little Girls are all about “shows” now and want to see every play in the greater DC area. We also had some very important and candid conversations after seeing Annie. We talked about how life has changed since the Great Depression, but also how poverty still exists. We talked about how people are not their circumstances and sometimes need some extra help. We talked about how we already help people in our own community and what else we could do.
The idea of cast away orphans really resonated with my Little Girls. They were very interested in what that all meant. It created an opportunity to talk about what makes a family and how families are different. We talked about how some children grow inside their Mom’s tummy and others grow inside their Mom’s hearts. We talked about adoption and who we know that is adopted, which really hit home with them. We talked about the words we can use to talk about different relationships and how using words like ‘real mom’ could be hurtful. It was a hard, yet heartwarming conversation.
We can’t wait to see another production at the Olney Theatre!
Know Before You Go:
- Annie is running through December 31, 2017.
- Tickets start at $47 and can be purchased online or at a discount through CertifiKID.
- Regular Performances are Wednesday-Saturday at 8:00 pm; matinees on Wednesday, Saturday
and Sunday at 2:00 pm.
- Refreshments are available for purchase (& allowed in the theatre)
- There is ample, free parking.
- Get information on upcoming performances at the Olney Theatre.