Shorewood Players Annie: You're Gonna Like It Here

June 23, 2010

When Shorewood Players’ Annie opened last weekend, the Great Depression met today’s Great Recession. Annie is the story of the plucky orphan fighting the Great Depression with infectious optimism, taking a millionaire and even FDR along for the ride. In Shorewood’s production, a magnetic young actress leads a troupe of energetic orphans with that same positive outlook, giving the audience an entertaining respite.


As Annie, TaylorAnne Stefanski exhibits charm, innocence and spunk. She has the voice, the dancing talent and acting chops to keep the audience absorbed. Teresa Drews as the hated Miss Hannigan is Annie’s foe. Hannigan’s repulsion and scorn is countered by Annie’s charm and innocence. Because of Hannigan’s flaws, we cheer for Annie. Drews mines the role for laughs, and finds many gems.


Trinny Gaulke portrays Grace Farrell, assistant to Oliver Warbucks. She is the bridge between the droll orphanage and the vast Warbucks estate. Gaulke catches Annie’s optimism, and finds that by making a place for Annie, she also finds a home. As Warbucks, Michael Ray is an iconic 1930’s businessman. Ray’s interpretation maintains the all-business focus, but he softens to show that success is empty without people to love.


As grifters Rooster Hannigan and Lily St. Regis, Robert Schuettpelz and Tamara Safer bring broad comedy to their scenes. In “Easy Street,” Rooster, Lily and Miss Hannigan savor the dream of easy money. Soon, Rooster and Lily hatch a scheme, claiming to be Annie’s parents and collect Warbucks’ reward. For most in the audience, the scam was entertaining buffoonery. But young children saw a demonstration of the best in children’s theatre.


Supplementing these strong leads, the vibrant energy of the many talented kids is more than worth the price of admission. In some scenes, notably “It’s a Hard Knock Life” and “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile,” the two-story orphanage was a hive of activity, with kick lines, pinwheels and motion everywhere. Standouts among the amiable orphans were Gaby Musickant (Molly), Zoe Drews (Pepper), Kamilah Lay (Duffy), Rebecca Mesnick (July), Emma Borkowski (Tessie) and Nicole Otto (Kate). The band of girls played a convincing game of cat and mouse with Miss Hannigan, staying one step beyond her sinister control. Notable was Gaby Musickant as Molly, the youngest orphan. Kudos to Choreographer Amie Ferrante for engaging the cast and the audience with appealing dance numbers.


Another outstanding moment was David Flowers’ turn as FDR. For people who know Roosevelt from radio or newsreels, Flowers’ impression was striking. And Larry Ladin as radio host Bert Healy made us appreciate the charm of the Golden Age of Radio.


Director Terry Grazer drew a spirited performance from a very large cast. As he has done many times with Shorewood, he makes each cast member of that cast earn their place on stage. Grazer both paid respect to the 30-year-old classic, and gave it a new energy. Music Director Emily Taylor assembled a skilled orchestra and provided musical energy to power the show.


(Photo: TaylorAnne Stefanski as Annie in Shorewood Players Annie The Musical. Photo by Sal Tomasello)


Performances continue through June 27. To order tickets visit or 414-737-3421.


This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Suburban News Roundup

E-mail Newsletter

Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.

Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter
Get the Newsletter!

Login or Register to manage all your newsletter preferences.

Community Watch

» Homestead teacher is stepping down under deal Updated:  11/27

» River Lane Inn in Brown Deer sold to Pastiche owner Updated:  11/25

» Whitefish Bay Holiday Stroll coming on Friday 11/25

» Bomb squad examines grenade found in Brown Deer house 11/25

» Inspired by Popp, Homestead seizes fifth state football title 11/25

» Sport Shorts: Nov. 26, 2015 11/25

» Shorewood robbery suspects face charges 11/25

» River Lane Inn will become Pastiche 11/25

» Woodland champion Shorewood girls basketball team looks for third title 11/25

» Homestead girls basketball team has high expectations 11/25

» Highlanders rejoice over state football title 11/25

» Shorewood School District raises $1 million for STEAM programs 11/24

» Crews battle house fire in Brown Deer; 2 cats killed Updated:  11/23

» Cats, guinea pig die in fire 11/23

» Mequon woman reported missing 11/23

» Homestead wins fifth state football title, 28-12, over Waukesha West 11/20

» Build-your-own pizza place coming to Shorewood next year 11/20

» Shorewood families want to host Syrian refugees 11/20

» Updated state championship game rankings of area prep football teams and players 11/19

» Homestead football team faces uphill title fight against West 11/18

» Wolf and Zortman fill in each other's gaps well 11/18

» Apartments, assisted living pitched in Mequon development 11/18

» Mequon-Thiensville's Demond Means says MPS role won't interfere with his day job 11/18

» Hayes helps Brown Deer/USM swimming team set two program records 11/18

» Oak Leaf Trail extension links Milwaukee to Ozaukee County Updated:  11/18

View All Posts Got a tip? Welcome rss




Local Business Directory


Most Popular