Six months into the revival run of Annie, the little orphan musical, it’s understandable why the producers wanted to give the Tony-nominated production a jolt of energy. (Here’s our original review.) The orphans (led by Lilla Crawford as the title character) seem a wee bit fatigued, a few voices are showing strain, and the Christmas-themed finale sometimes feels as off as tinsel in January.
So they brought in Glee star Jane Lynch to play the boozy floozy orphanage head Miss Hannigan, a role played originally by Katie Finneran (who was atrociously overlooked for a Tony). On paper, it probably seemed to be perfect stunt-casting. But Lynch, who can be a standout star (see: Glee or any Christopher Guest movie she appears in) feels lost in the role. Lynch’s excitement at playing this delicious stage villain is obvious (she cracks a few smiles when the audience reacts to her delivery), but she never quite hits the notes (literally and figuratively) that her predecessor did. (In Lynch’s defense, celebrities brought in to replace trained stage actors seldom do.)
More often that not, it feels like Sue Sylvester just landed her first Broadway gig. Minus the track suit. B-
(Tickets: Ticketmaster.com or 877-250-2929)