Review: Bet your bottom dollar that ‘Annie’ is pure family fun at Fisher Theatre

Ellie Pulsifer as Annie and company in the national tour of ANNIE (Matthew Murphy and Andrew Zimmerman, MurphyMade)

DETROIT – It’s a phrase that Detroiters may be familiar with, “The sun will come out tomorrow.”

And as we eagerly await for said sun, there is another ray of light in Motown: the new national touring production of ANNIE now playing at the Fisher Theatre for one week only.

Broadway’s famous little red head and her crew of ragamuffin orphans are here to sing their way into our hearts in this multigenerational classic.

The musical, based on the comic from the 1920s, features many of the songs featured in the 1982 film, like “Hard Knock Life” and “Tomorrow,” as well as several lesser-known numbers that help build the world of Great Depression-era Manhattan.

Ellie Rose Pulsifer as the titular heroine is a young star in the making. Pulsifer brings so much controlled emotion to her character with just the right amount of angst when she needs it and tenderness when it’s called for. Her voice soars with surprising clarity in her tone, especially for a young actress performing eight times a week, belting out the classic showtunes that make it such a joy to hear again.

Company of ANNIE national tour (MurphyMade)

Mark Woodard, our understudy for Oliver Warbucks, brought a heartfelt sincerity to the typically cold billionaire. His booming voice and physicality brought Warbucks to life. Woodard and Pulsifer’s chemistry was delightful to watch, never missing a beat in their handshakes and hugs.

The trio of villains; Miss Hannigan, Rooster and Lily, played by Stefanie Londino, Nick Bernardi and Krista Curry, respectively; were deliciously mischievous. The orphans; Bronte Harrison, Skylar Matthews, Vivianne Neely, Izzy Pike, Kenzie Rees and Valeria Velasco; are a hardworking bunch who show just how much fun they’re having on stage every night. Julia Nicole Hunter was a stunning Grace Farrell who really embodied the elegance and poise of her character, not to mention her stunning vocal abilities. Arguably, the biggest star of the night was Annie’s dog Sandy, played by Addison, a talented rescue dog who the audience just could not get enough of.

RELATED: ‘Annie’s’ Stefanie Londino on making Miss Hanigan more ‘human’

Directed by an original Broadway Pepper, Jenn Thompson shows that she knows what ANNIE is all about. The overall production delivers a classic Broadway feel with modern finesses. Wilson Chin’s scenic design is timeless with beautiful physical backdrops and sets. The show I was at was unfortunately plagued with microphone issues, but I typically attribute that to opening night hitches.

There’s a reason ANNIE has lasted through the decades and this production is just another example of why it continues to endure. It’s a heartfelt experience that brings families together with classic music that still delights and delivers. Don’t wait until tomorrow, see ANNIE today.

ANNIE is now playing at the Fisher Theatre through Sunday, April 30th. For showtimes and tickets, visit

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