Just for laughs: a terribly endearing “Annie”!

Just for laughs: a “Annie” terribly endearing!

A scene from the musical “Annie”, by Just for Laughs

On its own, the official poster of Annieputs a smile on your face with, in the foreground, the sparkling face of the title character and her adorable curly redhead wig. Good news, the advertised show does what it promises and is the perfect summer treat for the whole family.

Just for laughs: a terribly endearing “Annie»!

A scene from the musical Annie, by Just for Laughs
Credit: Laurence Labat

Just for Laughs returns to the pleasure of its usual musicals, three years old after the success of Mamma Mia!(We won't surprise you by specifying that the tradition had been abandoned in 2020 and 2021, for a vaguely known reason…) And we could hardly have found a more unifying opus than Annie to rally the troops in room and breathe a good dose of magic into their hearts.

As proof, 45 000 tickets have already been sold for the performances of Anniescheduled until the end of July in Montreal, then in Quebec City at the end of the summer. And this, even before the media premiere, which took place on Wednesday at the St-Denis Theater (and which was postponed for a week due to an outbreak of COVID-19 in the team).

Just for laughs: a « Annie» terribly endearing!

A scene from the musical Annie, by Just for Laughs
Credit: Laurence Labat

Filled with hope

From the first numbers of the group, as soon as the first consecrated notes of C'est une vie d'enfer –  an invigorating joyful refrain despite its cruel subject –, pushed by the little actress-singers interpreting the orphans from New York in a perfectly coordinated ballet of steps, with their white rags flying in the air, we let ourselves be caught up in the contagious energy that will not be denied throughout the performance. Later, the hopeful Tomorrow,easily identifiable with the universe of Annie, also delights.

The Quebec play of course takes up the plot exploited on the boards of Broadway and elsewhere, and essentially known thanks to the 1982 film by Jean Huston (here, the work is adapted from the stage version of 1977 whose libretto is signed Thomas Meehan, and lyrics and music, Martin Charnin and Charles Strouse): In 1933, in the heart of the Great Depression, the resourceful little Annie despairs of finding her mom and dad, stuck in an orphanage where the hateful tyrant reigns Miss Hannigan (Geneviève Alarie), the latter going so far as to clean up her flock in the middle of the night. When a billionaire (David Savard), anxious to restore his public image, invites an orphan to spend a week with him, it is Annie who is chosen, and a bond will be born between the man and his new protege.

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Just for laughs: an “Annie&raquo terribly endearing!

A scene from the musical Annie, by Just for Laughs
Credit: Laurence Labat

Annie is aimed at audiences of all ages. Toddlers will fall for the very good-natured story, comforting like any American classic. The orphanage scenes and their well-rehearsed choreographies will be delighted, where the resourceful little girls without parents happily tease each other.

Obviously, the audacity of little Annie, intelligent, rebellious, optimistic despite the sad fate which is his, bewitches. The emblematic kid is wonderfully interpreted by the endearing Kayla Tucker, whose charisma is to break everything. The youngest of the band of little girls, Molly (played alternately by Juliette Aubin and Arielle Lalonde), is also to die for with her spontaneous and unexpected lines.

Adults, familiar or not with the story, will appreciate the very local rereading and its adapted jokes (well-known Quebecois accent included!). They will notice the controlled staging of an enthusiastic Serge Denoncourt, who, we can guess, had to fight it out several times in rehearsals with this band of young artists, most of them inexperienced (Raphaëlle Morissette, daughter of Véronique Cloutier and Louis Morissette, and Alice Déry, daughter of Élyse Marquis, are in the cast)… and the dog Sandy (Chloée in “real” life, very wise during her appearances!).

Just for laughs: a terribly endearing “Annie» !

A scene from the musical Annie, by Just for Laughs
Credit: Laurence Labat

Large Scale

Just for Laughs has always been able to allocate the means of grandeur necessary for the scope of its musicals, and Annie is no exception, with its decorations sometimes evoking a boarding school dormitory, sometimes the alleys of New York, sometimes the majestic house of the billionaire Warbucks, sometimes supported by projections. Original songs translated into French (work by Serge Denoncourt and Manuel Tadros), and expertly detailed period costumes and hairstyles add to the ensemble. It's a nice trip back in time (we're talking here and there about President Roosevelt or other references at the time) that we're being offered.

David Savard is imposing as a businessman just fairly upstart, but friendly. The acting of the actors is sometimes caricatural, in particular that of Geneviève Alarie as Miss Hannigan, which is not necessarily a defect in this type of very family context, almost close to comics (which was elsewhere Annie originally).

Just for laughs: an «Annie&raquo terribly endearing!

A scene from the musical Annie, by Just for Laughs
Credit: Laurence Labat

Certainly, like all productions of the genre, Annie does not give in conciseness; the show lasts 2h45, including intermission. We feel from the start that some tables may be installed for a long time.

But it's such a sweet moment that we spend with Annie and her family, such a cute balm that takes us straight back to childhood that we cannot address the slightest reproach to this touching and unpretentious little happiness.

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Just for laughs: a terribly endearing “Annie” /></p>
<p>A scene from the musical <em>Annie, </em>by Just for Laughs<br />Credit: Laurence Labat </p>
<p>Annie is on the bill at the Théâtre St-Denis until July 31, then will move to the Salle Albert-Rousseau, in Quebec City, from August 12. Hahaha.com for information.</p>
<p>See, below, our photos of the red carpet of the premiere of <em>Annie</em>, which took place Wednesday at the St-Denis Theater. </p>
<p class=Some fun facts about Annie
&#8211 ; According to the New York Times newspaper, the play Annieis produced an average of 700 to 900 times per year across the United States;
– The musical has been translated into over 28 languages ​​around the world and has been performed in 34 different countries;
– Sarah Jessica Parker is among the actresses to have played the title role on Broadway;
– The film Annie, released in 1982, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year… like the Just for Laughs Festival which presents the show in Montreal this summer;
– Just for Laughs received more than 500 applications from girls who hoped to play the role of Annie on stage. For the American cinematographic version of 1982, 8000 little girls had auditioned to put on the now famous curly wig of the endearing little orphan!

Just for laughs: a terribly endearing “Annie»!

Mélanie Pilon on the red carpet for the premiere of the musical Annie, by Just for Laughs, at the Théâtre St-Denis./Josie Desmarais/Metro

 Just for laughs: a terribly endearing “Annie” /></p>
<p>Stéphane Crête on the red carpet for the premiere of the musical Annie, by Just for Laughs, at the Théâtre St-Denis./Josie Desmarais/Metro </p>
<p><img class=

Guylaine Tremblay and her partner on the red carpet for the premiere of the musical Annie, by Just for Laughs, at the Théâtre St-Denis./Josie Desmarais/Metro

 Just for laughs: a terribly endearing “Annie” /></p>
<p>Marc Beaupré and his spouse on the red carpet for the premiere of the musical Annie, by Just for Laughs, at the Théâtre St-Denis./Josie Desmarais/Metro </p>
<p><img class=

Patrice Robitaille on the red carpet for the premiere of the musical Annie, by Just for Laughs, at Théâtre St-Denis./Josie Desmarais/Metro

 Just for laughs: a terribly endearing “Annie” /></p>
<p>François Massicotte and his children on the red carpet for the premiere of the musical Annie, by Just for Laughs, at the Théâtre St-Denis./Josie Desmarais/Metro </p>
<p><img class=

Yvon Deschamps and Judi Richards on the red carpet for the premiere of the musical Annie, by Just for Laughs, at the Théâtre St-Denis./Josie Desmarais/Metro

Just for laughs: an «Annie&raquo terribly endearing!

Cathy Gauthier, her daughter and friends on the red carpet for the premiere of the musical Annie, by Just for Laughs, at the Théâtre St-Denis./Josie Desmarais/Metro

 Just for laughs: a terribly endearing “Annie” /></p>
<p>Catherine Proulx-Lemay and her son (whose dad, David Savard, plays in the play) on the red carpet for the premiere of the musical Annie, by Just for Laughs, at Théâtre St-Denis./Josie Desmarais/Metro </p>
<p><img class=

Franco Nuovo and his wife on the red carpet for the premiere of the musical Annie, by Just for Laughs, at the Théâtre St-Denis./Josie Desmarais/Metro

 Just for laughs: a terribly endearing “Annie” /></p>
<p>François Lambert and his spouse on the red carpet for the premiere of the musical Annie, by Just for Laughs, at the Théâtre St-Denis./Josie Desmarais/Metro </p>
<p><img class=

Young comedian Joey Bélanger on the red carpet for the premiere of the musical Annie, by Just for Laughs, at Théâtre St-Denis./Josie Desmarais/Metro

Just for laughs: an «Annie&raquo terribly endearing!

Tatiana Polevoy on the red carpet for the premiere of the musical Annie, by Just for Laughs, at the Théâtre St-Denis./Josie Desmarais/Metro

 Just for laughs: a terribly endearing “Annie” /></p>
<p>Guillaume Lemay-Thivierge and his family on the red carpet for the premiere of the musical Annie, by Just for Laughs, at the Théâtre St-Denis./Josie Desmarais/Metro </p>
<p><img class=

Élyse Marquis, whose daughter Alice stars in the play, on the red carpet for the premiere of the musical Annie, by Just for Laughs, at Théâtre St-Denis./Josie Desmarais/Metro

 Just for laughs: a terribly endearing “Annie” /></p>
<p>Jean-Sébastien Girard on the red carpet for the premiere of the musical Annie, by Just for Laughs, at the Théâtre St-Denis./Josie Desmarais/Metro </p>
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