Needs more than heart
Sacramento, CA 95818
Annie remains one of the most popular and timeless classics of musical theater. Unfortunately, a solid set of songs and a storyline that sends audience members through wave after wave of nostalgia isn’t enough to create a memorable retelling of the redheaded orphan’s tale.
Runaway Stage Production’s telling, directed by Bob Baxter, is marred by under-rehearsed dancers and actors going so far over the top that it ceases to be genuine. Daddy Warbucks (Ray Fisher), for instance, has a decent enough voice. But any chance at having a loving story of a billionaire’s hard heart melted by a melodious little ginger is stricken dead as soon as he opens his mouth to speak.
In fact, the entire show seems to revolve around actors making it through the script just to get to the next song. Characterization is thin on the ground beyond making bold, often over-the-top choices that aren’t very funny and detract from the relationships onstage.
A huge portion of any good musical is the choreography. Though choreographer Darryl Strohl worked out a tight routine for the orphan-led “It’s the Hard-Knock Life,” nearly every other number is filled with adults bumping into one another as they cross the stage clumsily or stand around aimlessly during one of the play’s many, many codas.
Despite these complaints, Runaway Stage still manages to present a loving and enthusiastic telling of the classic. That enthusiasm, however, doesn’t make up for everything.