The Sun Is Shining on Surflight’s ‘Annie’

Straightforward Street: Annie (Eliana Gamble) and Sandy (Soleil Caravella) share an embrace throughout the demonstrate. All people included, two- and four-legged alike, gave a heartwarming general performance. (Photo by Pat Trotter)
“Annie” the present, like Annie the character, under no circumstances grows previous. And it life on at Surflight Theatre in Beach Haven.
It was excellent to see a comprehensive residence – essentially a whole significant-major tent – in Seashore Haven’s Veterans Memorial Park since Surflight is employing that venue for its mainstage displays for a second summer months in the curiosity of caution in the face of a pandemic that is stubbornly hanging around in spite of vaccinations. And that determination may be a very good one in a different way for the reason that if audiences carry on to respond as boisterously as individuals did on Saturday evening and blow the top rated off, at minimum Surflight won’t have to fork out for roof repairs.
The musical, with new music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin, opened on Broadway way again in 1977. It won 7 Tony Awards such as Best Musical, ran for 2,377 performances, experienced two Broadway revivals, has been carried out all-around the environment, and proceeds to be a beloved in the U.S., wherever it is created hundreds of occasions every single calendar year. Indeed, “Annie” will be done are living this upcoming holiday time on NBC.
Thomas Mehan’s reserve was based mostly on Harold Gray’s “Little Orphan Annie” comedian strip, introduced in 1924. Gray penned it until his demise in 1968 various artists took in excess of until eventually it last but not least was canceled in 2010.
“Little Orphan Annie” was dependent on an 1885 poem, “Little Orphant Annie,” by James Whitcomb Riley, a common American poet at that time. It was originally titled “The Elf Little one,” but Riley determined to improve it to “Little Orphant Allie” (orphant is an out of date variety of orphan) in its 3rd printing. A printer’s mistake adjusted her title to Annie and Riley, not wanting to confuse issues thinking of it was selling well, went alongside.
Riley’s poem was centered on a real-existence orphan, Mary Alice “Allie” Smith, who was born in 1850 and labored as a servant in the poet’s family members home as he was growing up.
So, Annie is 136 decades old when “Allie” would be 171 many years aged nowadays.
Nevertheless in the musical she stays an 11-12 months old, a bundle of power and cheer, as is Surflight’s manufacturing of “Annie.”
Saturday’s Annie was Manahawkin’s Annie Shea Caravella. She’s alternating in the position with another Manahawkin skip, Eliana Gamble. Caravella carried out beautifully, finding up on cues quicker than a slick fielding shortstop scoops up challenging grounders, and due to the fact Paula Hammons Sloan directed and choreographed the clearly show, it would be a gamble certainly to wager towards Gamble currently being just as great.
Every single role – and there are numerous in this display – was played very well in actuality, ensemble quantities all attained vigorous applause. Continue to, some actors stood out, climbing bigger from an currently significant base.
Sophia Swannell’s crisp English accent designed Grace Farrell, Daddy Warbucks’ secretary/own assistant, seem so specialist you could imagine a sequel with her leaving Warbucks’ aspect to operate her very own Fortune 100 business. By the way, the accent isn’t feigned Swannell is a native of London.
The high-kicking dance performance of Jonathan Van Dyke and Kelsey Kaufman, who played Rooster Hannigan and Lily St. Regis, a pair of thieves posing as Annie’s parents, bought the largest roar of the evening until eventually the show’s orphans formed their individual kick line in a later on number.
The loudest applause, while, followed the uplifting reprise of “Tomorrow,” sung by President Franklin Roosevelt’s cabinet just after he requested its users to sing out, joined by Annie and Warbucks.
Tom Orr was place on enjoying FDR. Orr could proclaim himself Roosevelt, say he hadn’t died in 1945 but was somewhat frozen to be revived later, and run for a fifth phrase. He could nearly get away with it.
Dorian Quinn was a lively Bert Healy, the host of a radio present on which Warbucks seems in an hard work to monitor down Annie’s mother and father. Alyssa Barton, Kayelin Leon and Erika Harper as the Boylan Sisters singing trio joined Healy in an effervescent model of “Fully Dressed,” later on spoofed by the orphans.
Even Noah Lyon, taking part in a incredibly slight role – Roosevelt’s Maritime Honor Guard – was best in that he executed his about faces, still left turns and correct turns with true navy precision. Crisp, like the rest of the manufacturing, which is performed without the need of an intermission.
The only performer who performed beneath his typically substantial stage was Surflight Artistic Director Steve Steiner, who plays Warbucks. It was not his fault.
Steiner just about shed his voice on Saturday. It cracked at occasions, led to coughs, and pressured him to mostly communicate-sing. The episode displays the tightrope nature of working with no an understudy.
Nicely, the show will have to go on, and Steiner gave a courageous overall performance. He has due to the fact visited a medical doctor, and involving medication and two days’ rest, he ought to be again with his powerful deep baritone appear the show’s up coming performance.
That must make Surflight’s “Annie” practically ideal. Just after all, it previously was nearing that amount on Saturday.
Most residents and guests to Southern Ocean County experienced a somewhat complicated July 4th weekend this 12 months, what with sudden thunderstorms threatening activities nearly all over. They experienced to hold hoping the solar would appear out – and with any luck , continue to be out – tomorrow.
Well, it arrived out, figuratively at minimum, on Surflight’s huge-best tent stage on Saturday night and figures to shine by way of the conclusion of the show’s run.
“There are number of musicals like ‘Annie’ wherever you know the text to every song and the overriding concept – specifically in the making an attempt instances we are living in – is optimism,” reported Neil Meron, who will provide as co-producer of the Television set extravaganza and who was the executive producer of all of NBC’s live musicals since 2013’s “The Audio of Songs Live!” “The music ‘Tomorrow’ implies additional than ever now,” claimed Meron.
“Annie” will be done at 8 p.m. on July 8, 9, 10, 13, 15, 16, and 17, at 8:15 p.m. on July 7 and 14, and at 2 p.m. on July 8, 11, 13 and 18. Tickets for all demonstrates are $41 for adults and $31 for little ones 12 decades of age and more youthful. They may be purchased on the net at, by phone at 609-492-9477 or at the box office, situated at 201 Engleside Ave., Beach front Haven.
Rick Mellerup

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