Theater Review: 'Annie' performers struggled to be heard

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By Gina Velasquez

“It’s a hard knock…uh… production.”
I was looking forward to the stage showing of “Annie.”
Ever since I was a little kid, I was mesmerized by the music and stellar voices in the 1982 film release starring Carol Burnett as the nasty, yet comical Miss Hannigan. I always thought it would be wonderful to see this family-friendly beloved musical on stage.
The opening night production at the Greer Garson Theater tarnished a lot of those memories with a sloppy, poorly placed orchestra performance that drowned out not only the singing, but the acting as well. The only thing the audience was able to hear clearly was Miss Hannigan’s whistle.
Opening night jitters aside, even the program handed out to the audience was extremely amateur and unprofessional.
From watching the movies, I was familiar with the lyrics of most of the musical numbers. Good thing, because I couldn’t hear any of the words. I couldn’t image how it would have been for those hard of hearing.
There was a screen at the back of the stage, projecting images of life and times in 1933 New York City. Would it have been wise to place the orchestra back there?
Makai Weber Colvin, as Annie, was adorable with her perky, high-pitched voice and Brett W. Mallard had a great voice and expressed the kind demeanor of Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks. Even Mallard’s booming tone was not enough to break through the orchestra.
Set at Christmas time, “Annie” is a classic story about the little orphan who finds refuge from a brutal life in an orphanage in the arms of Warbucks. Her dream is to reunite with her real parents — a broken locket, her only key to her past. Warbucks wants to adopt her, but Annie holds steadfast that she belongs with her real mother and father. Warbucks vows to help the little orphan by offering a hefty reward for them to come forward — the couple that has the other half of the broken locket.
Several scammers later — including Miss Hannigan’s brother Rooster and his “friend” Lily — Annie and Warbucks discover the truth about her parents’ fate and Warbucks adopts her … “together at last, together forever …”
A sweet story that I will always enjoy.
I can’t fault the performers for the stiffled musical numbers and dialogue from the Musical Theatre Works Santa Fe. They just should have had wore microphones or headsets.
The seven-piece brass orchestra was poorly place to the left of the auditorium. I wonder if they had a full rehearsal, because if they had they would have known the placement of the orchestra would be way too loud for the 513-seat theater.
I hope before the end of the run, the production crew cleaned up some of the speed bumps from opening night, and I really hope the people who attended the show were able to enjoy the cast’s lovely voices and great dance numbers.