By Zita Lam
We have waited long enough and Annie is back just in time for the holidays! Based on the 1924 comic strip Little Orphan Annie created by Harold Gray, this Broadway musical is now running at the 5th Avenue Theatre through Dec. 30 to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with audiences who are ready to get into the holiday spirit.
It’s almost Christmas, and among the girls in the orphanage, there is eleven-year-old Annie who awaits her parents’ return. Eagers to be reunited with her family, Annie tries to escape the orphanage again after having been caught by Miss Hannigan, the alcoholic matron. This time she hides in the laundry basket and successfully gets away when being delivered out of the building. She walks on the desolate streets where people made homeless by the Great Depression, gather as a community. Nowhere to start for the search of her parent, Annie runs into a stray dog whom she named Sandy afterward. Two orphans in one cold city, hoping to find a warm place called home.
Soon enough, Annie is found by a policeman and being sent back to the orphanage. When she expects the worst possible punishment that could happen to her, Grace Farrell, billionaire Oliver Warbucks’ assistant walks into Miss Hannigan’s office. Grace invites an orphan to spend the holiday at Mr. Warbucks’ mansion, and Annie seems to be a perfect match. Little does Annie knows, her life is about to change.
As Annie and Mr. Warbucks are starting to bond, Annie’s curiosity and energy are slowly influencing Mr. Warbuck, who spends most of his time working, to appreciate every little thing in life. After learning Annie’s story, Mr. Warbucks does everything he could to find her parents. An announcement is made through the radio station and people who claim to be the parent start showing up at the mansion. Are they really Annie’s parent? Between adoption and letting Annie go, what will Mr. Warbucks do?
Annie is definitely a joyful show for audiences of all ages. It highlights the young talents including but not limited to Visesia Fakatoufifita as Annie and other actresses who play orphans in the production. Fakatoufifita’s voice is crisp and is full of emotions. She moves audiences’ heart dearly with her incredible acting skill and vocal performance.
In addition to the adorable kids on the stage, the musical features two well-trained dogs who play Sandy. Can I just say, those dogs can really act! They are natural-born actors and they just light up the room every time they make the appearance under the spotlight.
Behind the laughs and joys that are brought onto the stage, there is a deeper message the musical tries to deliver especially for the holiday. It revisits the real meaning of Christmas and it leads us to ask ourselves, once again, the reason we should care for the others – friends, family, or even strangers.