We went to see the production of “Annie” at the Creative Theater in Pigeon Forge and it made us fall in love with theater all over again. I had seen pictures and good reviews on social media of this production, but was even more impressed after seeing it with my own eyes. Take someone special there this week because the performances are wonderful. Now, I will tell you seven reasons why I enjoyed the performance and why you need to see “Annie” this week.
1. The Personal Connection
I was initially interested in seeing the production with my sister and her family because the young actress in the lead role is good friends with my niece. They are in the same class together at school in Morristown. We had to come and support her talented best friend!
And we love dogs! What a cute pup for the role of ‘Sandy.’
The screenshot above shows the four shows left this week.
2. The Quality
This musical was a hit in 1977 and it is a hit now in Pigeon Forge. I expected a good performance; however, the production set a high standard—and met it. I forgot that I was not in Knoxville, Nashville, Atlanta, or even the theater district in NYC. Acting and voices were wonderful. Costumes were beautiful (or beautifully shabby in the case of the orphans) and the sets were so interesting. Part of the fun of the show is when you see the stage changed from one scene to the next. It is fun to see the change.
We bought tickets in the balcony and were ready for the show to begin by seven o’clock.
As you can see, the theater is a nice size with a main floor and a balcony. You can also see the stage and how they change the sets.
If you sit in the balcony, the safety rail will be in your line of sight, but you get used to it. After a minute, your eyes will be riveted to the stage below.
3. The Music
Everyone knows at least two songs from this musical: “Hard-Knock Life” and “Tomorrow.” You will want to sing along and may recognize a few more tunes. In the photo above, the ‘orphans’ were adorable and everyone hit their marks. The young actors kept the pace lively.
4. Nostalgia and History
This was one of my favorite scenes in the show for several reasons. First, I enjoyed seeing the group together and hearing the ‘Cabinet’ sing. Second, the actor portraying Franklin Roosevelt was so authentic in his portrayal that FDR seemed to ‘come back to life’ in 2019. Third, I knew that they invited a guest to do a cameo for the evening, but didn’t know when he would appear. Follow Creative Theater on Facebook and you will know who to expect in the cameo each day. Our cameo actor for the evening is pictured above, second from the right.
I know that he had so much fun!
The musical takes place during the Great Depression so the audience will see historical and cultural references that bring back memories. The radio show and commercials did that for me. The poor people walking in the city reminded us of the hard times during the Great Depression. Presidents were mentioned, like Hoover and FDR. The portrayal of the president was perfection.
A good stage production will make you think and it will evoke feelings. “Annie” did both for me. I found myself smiling during most of the production. I smiled. I tapped my feet and hummed. Surprisingly, a tear even came to my eyes during the first playing of the song “Tomorrow.” It must be the most well known tune from the show, with a theme of optimism in spite of life’s battles. If you listen to the words and think of someone fighting a battle right now then you may also fight back a tear as well.
6. Red Carpet Picture
I had seen a friend post a special picture on Facebook where they looked like they were on a red carpet, standing under a movie marquee. My niece and I found the spot during the 15 minute intermission and were able to take a picture with ‘Sandy,’ the dog. There was no charge, just a suggestion to show it on social media in order to help publicity.
This was a wonderful souvenir and we were delighted. What a special touch to an already special event! Make sure that you take your camera/phone and do this by the end of intermission.
The second act will fly by too quickly so enjoy it!
I love the curtain call at the end of a play when the actors are recognized for their work.
What wonderful young performers!
These were formidable actors in sinister/comedic roles.
Miss Hannigan was superb!
Ron Solomon played Oliver Warlocks perfectly and had a wonderful singing voice. It was a pleasure to witness his scenes. Laura Taliferro played a kind Grace Farrell, secretary to Warbucks. I felt transported by her voice as well. She truly had a wonderful aura about her that surpassed the stage.
A standing ovation for Jennie Marie Davis and the entire cast of “Annie!”
7. Meeting the Cast
I have never attended a performance where you could meet the cast after the show. You will get to do that at the Creative Theater and it is magical!
The lead actress celebrates with classmates and home town friends from Morristown.
These three actors really ‘chewed up the scenery’ and made their marks on the musical. Marvin West was excellent as the policeman and FDR. You forgot that he was in character because it seemed so real. The audience could not control their laughter during the scenes with Jonathan Weathersby (Rooster) and Turner Morris (Lily St. Regis). I will not give away that scene, but it was the high point of the comedy for us. So funny!
Don’t be shy! During the ‘meet and greet’ after the show, congratulate the actors and get a picture to remember the show. I always wanted my picture with another president!
We left the theater and walked out to our cars, thinking about what a fantastic show that we had just witnessed in our own county. There are different kinds of theaters here, but this one is quite special. It is a community theater that allows community member to take part in productions and to try different aspects of the stage. It can help teach beginners while letting veterans shine!
Growing up in Morristown, we would go see performances at the Morristown Theater Guild. In fact, I first saw “Fiddler on the Roof” there and have never forgotten it. It was magical. In the same sense, I truly enjoyed the performance of “Annie” at the Creative Theater and am thinking about going again this week. Make sure you see this show while you still have a chance. It is amazing theater and made us fall in love with it all over again.
You will too!
Here is the link to the Facebook page. Keep up with upcoming shows, photos, and video feeds after the performances.