Book:Thomas Meehan
Music:Charles Strouse
Lyrics and Directed by:Martin Charnin
Choreography:Peter Gennaro
Sets:Kenneth Foy
Costumes:Theoni V. Aldredge
Lighting:Ken Billington
Sound:T. Richard Fitzgerald
Opened:3/97 at the Martin Beck Theater
Cast: Nell Carter, Conrad John Schuck, Brittny Kissinger, Colleen Dunn, Jim Ryan, Karen Byers-Blackwell, Raymond Thorne, Christiana Anbri, Cassidy Ladden, Melissa O'Malley, Mekenzie Rosen-Stone, Casey Tuma, Lyndsey Watkins, Cindy Lou, Sutton Foster, Michael E. Gold, Michael John McGann, Jennifer L. Neuland, Kelley Swaim, Elizabeth Richmond, Drew Taylor, Barbara Tirrell, Tom Treadwell and Brad Willis

Critical disregard for this adaptation of the long-running 1977 musical created, well, a rather hard knock life for its cast. Eight-year-old Brittny Kis-
singer (no relation to Henry, we believe, but her lack of verve may prompt one to make that connection) slipped on the wig of red ringlets after Joanna Pacitti, the original casting choice, received the boot. Annie, of course, is the well-worn Cinderella story of a spunky girl and her scruffy pooch, Sandy, who journey through Depression-era New York from a dismal orphanage to the mansion of millionaire Daddy Warbucks (Schuck). Despite such neo-classic, pull-you-up-by-the-bootstrap numbers as “Tomorrow” and “Maybe,” the production slumps with little energy — even Sandy seems to be on Prozac. Carter as the boozy Miss Hannigan belts out her songs with characteristic chutzpah, especially “Easy Street,” but doesn't indulge the witchy potential of her role to make the orphanage keeper a comically hateful tour de force. Worst of all, this Annie seems to have forgotten the eye-popping brightness of its comic-strip heritage.