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Weekend Life

Strong performances make for a memorable ‘Annie’

The Paramount Theatre in Aurora continues to outshine itself.

In staging  “Annie,” now running through Dec. 30, the theatre delivers one of its most joyous and entertaining productions since launching its Broadway series last year.

And the cast was able to inject a freshness into a musical that has been staged time and time again.

Of course, some of the credit must also go to director/choreographer Rachel Rockwell, who brings to “Annie” some of the same exhilaration she did in staging “Hair” at the Paramount earlier this year.

For those not familiar with the story, “Annie” is a musical based on the popular Harold Gray comic strip “Little Orphan Annie,” which first appeared in the “New York Daily News” in 1924.

“Annie” is set in New York City during the Great Depression. It was a smart move by those involved in this production to display actual photos from that time during the musical’s opening moments.

Doing so helped set the backdrop for the musical right away.

Among the musical’s highlights is the performance of Christine Sherrill as Miss Hannigan. She brings just the right amount of sass and humor to the role.

Gene Weygandt, known for playing The Wizard in Broadway’s “Wicked,” also turns in a strong performance as Daddy Warbucks, as does Maggie Portman as Lily St. Regis.

But the real stars of the show are the orphans of the New York Municipal Orphanage, led by 12-year-old Caroline Heffernan as Annie. 

Not only do the girls all turn in strong vocal performances that rivaled some of the adults in the production, they also shined in the complicated dance numbers.

So, if you’re looking for pure entertainment, you can bet your bottom dollar that “Annie” delivers that and more.

Tickets range in price from $34.90 to $46.90. For more information, visit 

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