From the moment that you walk into the Delaware Children's Theatre, you can feel the excitement from all the kids waiting for the show to start. As soon as the lights fade and the orchestra swells, the excited chatter turns to anticipation. The reaction from the children in the audience as the story of Annie unfolds might be one of the best parts of children's theatre. One young girl behind me was even quietly singing "Maybe" and "Tomorrow" with Annie--maybe a future Delaware Children's Theatre performer!
The Delaware Children's Theatre has a few roles double-cast, namely Annie and Oliver Warbucks. The performance that I saw had Gaea Lawton as Annie and Frank Baldo as Oliver Warbucks. They had great chemistry on-stage. The moment Gaea Lawton opened her mouth and started belting "Maybe," I knew this was going to be a great show. Gaea played the Mother Hen Annie to the kids exactly as you would expect her to be--nurturing, protective, and gentle. And she has one heck of a voice!
The two songs that I felt were the highlights of the show, save for "Tomorrow" of course, were "Maybe" and "Hard Knock Life." I was very impressed by the choreography and harmony from this talented cast. From Molly's (Claire DignazioKatherine Nardi) "Oh my goodness, oh my goodness" the orphans at the Municipal Girls Orphanage are all cute as a button, even the hardened Pepper (Evelyn Schiavone).
The rest of the cast are all adults, and it's clear that through Donna Marie Swajeski's direction that the kids, namely Annie, are the focus of the show. Kathy Buterbaugh as Ms. Hannigan is not the drunken, mean matron that I expected her to be. Don't get me wrong--she's still drunk and mean, but there is just a hint that deep down, maybe way down, she has a soft spot for these "rotten orphans." Maybe.
Annie at The Delaware Children's Theatre is a delightful production. I highly recommend seeing it to anyone with children. There are still 2 weekends of performances left, from October 26 through November 3. For tickets, call 302-655-1014 or visit http://www.dechildrenstheatre.org.
Posted at 12:05pm on October 23, 2013 by Gina Poletti
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