Little Orphan Annie may have been penniless, but Broadway's "Annie" sure isn't. The original production, with the book by Thomas Meehan and music by Charles Strouse, won seven Tony Awards, ran for 2,377 performances and circled the globe in 17 different foreign-language productions. As of now, producers claim, "Annie" has grossed more than $350 million, and continues to clean up. Leapin' lizards! Move over, Daddy Warbucks!
This weekend, the current Broadway touring production of "Annie" toe-taps its way into Shea's Performing Arts Center. We'll be hearing all the "Annie" hits, including "It's a Hard-Knock Life," "Easy Street," "NYC" and, of course, the smiley "Tomorrow."
And we'll be thrilling to the irresistible Depression story: Mop-topped Annie is chosen from a passel of her peers at a 1930s orphanage to spend the weekend at the opulent home of Daddy Warbucks. David Reynolds stars as the urbane Warbucks, though in his 30s he could be considered a little young for the part. Our Annie this time around is Dana Benedict. And the pivotal part of Sandy is played by a dog named Buster. (He has his own understudy, Lola.)
The production is directed by the show's lyricist, Martin Charnin. There's also a local connection: West Seneca native and Niagara University graduate Patrick Pettys sings and dances with the ensemble and is Buster's trainer off-stage.
(Note: The Buffalo Musicians Union, Local 92, is protesting the touring Broadway show's replacement of a full orchestra in the theater orchestra pit with a mostly computer-generated sound.)
Performances are scheduled for 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. today and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets, available at Shea's and all Ticketmaster locations, are $25-$45. For information, call 847-0850.