When Omaha Community Playhouse announced it was staging “Annie,” I knew right away this would be the perfect show to introduce my daughter to OCP productions. So on opening night, she was my date to review the show. Read on for our review of “Annie,” and to see if you think your kid is old enough to enjoy it.
“Annie” is on stage now through Oct. 13, 2019 at Omaha Community Playhouse. I received complimentary tickets in order to review the production.
What to expect at “Annie”
If you grew up in the 80s, there’s a good chance you grew up wanting to be Annie or Mr. Warbucks. I have a tape somewhere of me and my sister belting out “Tomorrow” to prove it. This stage production lives up to how I remember the movie, with the added touch of a live orchestra.
From the start, when with Stella Clark-Kaczmarek starts singing “Maybe,” you know she was perfectly cast in the role of Annie. That young actress can sing!
The other stand-out performances came from the adults in the cast, especially Jay Srygley as Daddy Warbucks and Allison Wissman as the hilarious Miss Hannigan.
The young orphans did a fine job, especially with the number “It’s The Hard Knock Life.” The young girl playing Molly, Brinlee Roeder, was adorable.
But, I’ll have to be honest here. Toby, the dog playing Sandy was the audience favorite. If there were long stretches without Toby on stage, my daughter would ask what happened to him.
The production, directed by Kimberly Faith Hickman, is impressive from choreography to costumes. You can easily forget this is community theater and most people in the show are volunteers, save for production staff.
Timing a bathroom break during “Annie”
The show consists of two acts, the first one lasting close to about 90 minutes. There is a 15-intermission. In all, it’s about 2 and 30 minutes long.
If you’re bringing a little one, you’re going to want to go before the show begins. I say this because there’s a good chance your kiddo will want a cookie or drink at intermission and it will be a scramble to wait in a bathroom line and the drink line.
Is “Annie” kid-friendly?
Of course it is. “Annie” is about as kid-friendly as it gets, with a relatable main character, lots of young actors and actresses on stage, and memorable songs.
However, it is a Broadway-style musical, so it is lengthy for some kids who may not be accustomed to sitting for long. If your kid is on the younger side, I’d recommend getting tickets to a Sunday matinee. It’s a late night if you go to a 7:30 p.m. performance.
What age is recommended to see “Annie”?
“Annie” is billed as an all-ages performance. There is nothing in the production to scare a child, nor any profane language (maybe a “damn” here and there).
I’d say grade-school age kids will enjoy this on up to adults. Anyone younger than 5 or 6 will have a hard time sitting through a 2 hour and 30 minute show.
You know your kid best, though. If he or she has sat through a full-length show before, then this won’t be a hard one to sit through.
Will adults like “Annie”?
Yes. While this is an all-ages Broadway musical, there are layers of to it that you understand better now as an adult than you probably did watching the movie as a kid. I probably didn’t understand half of what Miss Hannigan complained about when I was a kid.
There are some more adult moments. The angry gestures of the ensemble during “We’d Like To Thank You, Herbert Hoover” come mind. Like the context behind the song, kids aren’t going to understand them, so don’t worry about it.
What’s “Annie” about?
“Annie” is the tale of a young girl who never gives up hope of one day reuniting with her parents. After enlisting the help of Depression-era billionaire Oliver Warbucks, Annie finds herself in the tangled web of con artists, kidnappers and, worst of all, Miss Hannigan.
The musical is known for timeless songs like “Tomorrow” and “It’s The Hard-Knock Life.”
If you go
When: Now through Oct. 13; performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. On Sept. 22, Wag Therapy provided by CHI Health is at 1 p.m. prior to the 2 p.m. show. ASL performance is Oct. 11 and sensory-friendly performance is Oct. 12.
Where: Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St.
Cost: Tickets are $32-$50 for adults and $20-$25 for students, and may be purchased at the Omaha Community Playhouse Box Office, located at 6915 Cass St., by phone at (402) 553-0800 or online at OmahaPlayhouse.com.
Make a night of it! Here’s my list of 20+ must-try restaurants in Omaha. I took my daughter to Mark’s in Dundee prior to the show.