Abigail has worked as an actor/director in Chicago for over ten years, and along with husband Jason Epperson founded Lotus Theatricals in 2015, and PerformInk Chicago and Kansas City in 2016 (where she serves as Managing Editor of both publications). When not talking shop, Abigail is raising three padawans with Jason, drinking lots of coffee, converting school buses into RV's, and eating all the foods at Disney World. You can find her on Twitter @AbigailTrabue
Pictured: Tori Bates (Annie).
ANNIE, the adorable little-redheaded orphan who finds love and a family with Oliver Warbucks, is about as feel-goody as musicals get. But, outside of the warm fuzzies many of us experienced with all the little people in the audience, a lot of big people discovered just how much today’s climate is echoed in Annie’s America of 1933.
With a book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, and lyrics by Martin Charnin, the 1977 Tony Award winning musical is handled nicely by this recent national touring cast, most notably the children, who time and time again steal the show. In Tori Bates, Annie is as adorable as she is a spit-fire. Bates breathes modern life into Annie and doesn’t seem to flinch at the responsibility of carrying an entire show on her young shoulders. Her chemistry with Warbucks (played with just the right amount of gentle gruffness by Gilgamesh Taggett) is heartwarming and natural. When Annie and Warbucks finally come together as a family you could feel the parents in the room ease a little closer to their children, and I myself squeezed my own 6 year old a little tighter thankful to be his mama.
With a solid and supportive ensemble, most notably Casey Prins (Grace Farrell) and Adam Du Plessis (Drake), ANNIE is the perfect family night at the theater. And even though Miss Hannigan (Erin Fish) falls flat of finding the balance needed to make her a villian we can laugh at and not one we should call DCFS on, the production is still solid. Sandy (Alternately played by two rescue dogs) brings a huge smile to your face every time she comes on stage.
In a time when many of us wonder if the sun really will come out tomorrow, ANNIE is as timely as it is enjoyable.
ANNIE is now playing at the Cadillac Palance through November 13th. Tickets range from $25-$110. Group tickets for 10 or more are available by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710. Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com.