“ANNIE” is Delightful at The Island Theater in Fleming Island

Directed by Tricia Williams, Choreographed by Javier Fernandez

Annie was delightful. After a long week at the office, I enjoyed the entire production.  I think most everyone is familiar with the rags to riches story of orphan Annie, so I will concentrate my review on the actual play.

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The lights went down on cue at 7:30 p.m. and after a brief introduction by director Tricia Williams, the show began with a trumpet playing solo with more instruments chiming in to the music of Tomorrow.  It opens with most of the orphans sleeping in their beds and some trying to fall asleep. Annie is plotting her escape from the dreadful Miss Hannigan, played by the remarkable Stephanie Navarro, who makes the orphans clean and sew and feeds them slop not worthy of pigs.

Act 1 and II included all the hits we are familiar with from “Hard Knock Life” to “Tomorrow” with other songs like “Easy Street” and Little Girls”.   I loved listening to the wonderful voices of the talented cast. The actors have amazing vocal range and variety.

Of course, the star of the show is Annie played by the one and only Autumn Henry, who happens to be the same age as Annie. Her acting abilities and voice will take her far, especially considering she is only 11 years old.  The ensemble of little orphan girls was precious.  I really enjoyed them all. The director did a fantastic job with the talented group.  Tammy Jones was terrific as Grace Farrell, Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks assistant.  She has the singing voice of an angel. The review would not be complete if I did not mention how impressed I was with Post to Post Links II error: No post found with slug "Todd Henry"[/p2p] who portrayed Oliver Warbucks.  You could tell from his performance how much he enjoyed acting alongside his daughter Autumn.

The play ended at 10:15 p.m., which was a little longer than I would have imagined.  The intermission was about 30 minutes, so it could be cut down to 15-20 which would save little time. In addition, the music prior to the second act seemed to be drawn out.

Since this was the debut show for the new theater, I think it is appropriate to critique the actual venue, in addition to the play.  What a wonderful place to celebrate the arts in Fleming Island.  I especially loved the dark blue walls and matching fold up chairs.  It appears to hold about 100 people and for the opening night of Annie, it was packed.  The sound system was crystal clear and had just the right balance.   I loved the set designs and the stage itself appeared to have ample space.

You can tell that it was designed and brought to life with love and passion from Managing Director Tricia Williams.  Her heart is devoted to working with children, teens and adults who want to learn to act or are already experiencing the joys of being on stage.

The Island Theater is located at 1860 Town Hall Circle, Suite 54 in Fleming Island, Florida.

The nice concession offers water, canned sodas, candy, chips, beer and wine coolers. It was a bit chilly in the theater prior to the start of the play and during intermission, so I would recommend offering coffee or hot chocolate as well.  Otherwise, I thought it was a great and set up that was decorated in an island theme that gave it unique and fun ambiance.

Catch one of the Annie performances on March 23 at 7:30 p.m., March 24 at 12 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. or the Sunday matinee on March 25 at 2 p.m. You will be glad you did.

For tickets, visit www.theislandtheater.com

The 2018 Season has 16 shows lined up through January 2019, including Monty Pythons’ Spamalot, Disney’s Peter Pan Jr., The Rocky Horror Show and Charlie Brown.

About Leigh Ann Rassler