[THEATER REVIEW] Annie Jr (Hale Center Theater Orem)

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the musical Annie. It is kind of like the musical equivalent of Winnie the Pooh (well done and charming but dismissed because it is for kids). I’ve even enjoyed most of the movie versions except for the atrocious 2014 version from Disney (stay away). When I saw the youth at Hale Center Theater Orem were putting on Annie Jr I just had to go check it out!

This production of Annie stars Emme Chaffin as a our titular heroine with Collin Larsen as Daddy Warbucks and Ella Hyte as Ms Hannigan. The entire cast has little clear face shields which I haven’t seen a show use but I’m all for if that what it takes to let kids safely perform in musical theater. Hopefully that won’t be required much longer but it wasn’t a problem from an audience standpoint.

The junior productions are a little shorter and more PG than the traditional versions but I didn’t notice any major eliminations. All the important songs are there and sung very well including ‘Hard Knock Life’, ‘Tomorrow’ and ‘Maybe’. Hyte has a ton of fun hamming it up as Ms Hannigan. It’s a tricky role because you want to be the villain without being too mean to the girls and she finds that line well.

For a junior production the cast is large- at times filling up the stage. The choreography by Brandalee Streeter is charming and they even have a real dog Sandy that is very well behaved and adorable.

I honestly don’t have much to critique in this one. It’s exactly what I wanted for a nice little show in an afternoon. They had a few microphone issues but that’s about it.

Annie Jr is playing at Hale Center Theater Orem until the 22nd. Check it out!

9 out of 10



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