Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Not a Hard-Knock Life! Annie at the Paramount!

Image © Annie On Tour LLC
The US National Tour of the Tony Award-Winning musical Annie is at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, and STG Presents kindly provided me with a 4-pack of tickets to take my family to see the show last Sunday evening. It was such an amazing experience. From the moment the familiar music began playing, I was caught in a whirlwind of emotions and memories and pure joy.

Growing up, the 1982 Annie movie was one of the very few kid-friendly shows we had on VHS, so I would watch it over and over and over again. (This was long before cable, and multiple channels of kid-only programming!) That Christmas, when I was 7 (Z's age!) my mom and her friend took me and her daughter to see Annie on stage in Seattle. Other than being confused and annoyed that Annie had straight hair throughout most of the show, unlike in the movie, I loved it!

So imagine my joy when I got to invite my mom and my own daughter to recreate this experience together! I had thought to invite my mom's friend - that same friend from over 30 years ago! But instead my mom suggested that Z might enjoy bringing a friend from school, which was a brilliant idea. (Other than me being terrified of somehow messing everything up!)

We made it to the theatre on time, got our tickets, and got some concessions, since neither I nor Z's friend's mom had remembered to send snacks! Hahaha! Based on the volume of chocolate, chips, candy, and drinks consumed, both children had been left to starve all weekend! Ha!

Image © Annie On Tour LLC
All the actors were phenomenal. As a parent, I had difficulty watching the orphans though, because I kept being distracted worrying about how late those young actors would be up, and how much school they must have missed to practice and travel for the tour! Ha! But the girls definitely enjoyed those scenes and songs the most. Well, the orphans, and the scenes with Sandy!

Image © Annie On Tour LLC
10-year-old Issie Swickle was phenomenal as Annie, but for me, it was Lynn Andrews as Mrs. Hannigan who stole the show! I am very attached to Carol Burnett's version of that character, both because I've spent a lifetime loving her as an actress and comedienne, but also from watching her in the movie hundreds (thousands?) of times. But Lynn Andrews' version was fabulous. She exuded exhaustion, bitterness, and even resignation for her lot in life; but underneath it all, also a layer of humor and even a little kindness. And she was not afraid to get silly in some fun big ways. My girl was torn between hating her for being mean, and loving her antics! In the movie, Mrs. Hannigan got the opportunity to redeem herself by showing that she did care for Annie when she found out that Rooster intended to harm her, and I regret that the play did not give the character that same opportunity. But that's my only complaint.

The magic of experiencing this with my mom again, as well as with my own child; seeing my girl blossom socially and enjoy having her friend there, and my own emotions from all the triggers and memories from a lifetime of watching the movie, all made this such a rich experience for me.

Image © Annie On Tour LLC
Annie will be playing at the Paramount in Seattle through Saturday, September 26 2015, so there's still time to grab tickets at STG Presents or tickets.com!

For anyone not in Seattle, the tour is just starting, so you can check out the Annie the Musical site for all the cities and dates! 

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