It’s been a few years since I last saw a play at Spring Mountain Ranch (when I saw Beauty and the Beast and 1776), but their Super Summer Theater series is irresistible to any lover of culture in the Las Vegas Valley, and my wife and I took the kids to see Annie a few days ago. This show is near the end of its run, so if you haven’t seen it yet, you’ll need to make it a priority pretty quickly.
I’ll keep this brief–everything about this show is delightful. All of the singing was wonderful. The director brought in a couple of dozen young girls to populate the stage’s orphanage (including a tiny little thing who couldn’t have been any older than four), and their dance numbers were very well done; don’t worry about seeing a tedious school recital–they cavort and synchronize with polished pizzazz.
12-year-old Jessica Reuttiger shines as the spunky Annie, the Depression era’s female answer to Tom Sawyer, easily holding her own and even showing genuine chemistry with much older, experienced actors.
And while there are no bad performances in the whole show, the real star here is Anita Bean, who plays the scurrilous Miss Hannigan with such saucy abandon that the people sitting in the very back of the audience must have felt that she was right in front of them. Honestly, even during the show, I kept wondering how exhausted she must be after work every night–she throws herself into an uproariously over the top possession of the character, belting out every sleazy line with not just a variety of voices, but seemingly every bone in her body. Awesome.
Only a couple of slightly drawn out scenes and the community theater’s eternal bane of some slow pacing (punctuated by far too many long pauses) keep me from giving this play a perfect score.
Final Grade: A-