Six Must See Shows for the Holidays

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Paper Mill Playhouse

Led by Tony winner Beth Leavel as Miss Hannigan and the sonorous Christopher Sieber as Daddy Warbucks, everyone’s favorite orphan (Peyton Ella, alternating with Cassidy Pry) is now appearing at the Paper Mill Playhouse, one of the country’s eminent regional stages.

From the opening scene, set in the New York Municipal Orphanage’s dreary dormitory, to the grandeur of the Warbucks Mansion, the 2017 “Annie” jumps off the 1930s comic strip pages with a merry band of orphans and a dog named Sandy who can’t help but tug at your heart.

Abandoned in an orphanage at birth and cruelly mistreated by its headmistress, Miss Hannigan, Annie will put a smile on your face, a tear or two in your eye, and you’ll leave unable to get the show’s two anthems, “Tomorrow” and “It’s the Hard-Knock Life,” out of your head.


St. Anne’s Warehouse

We first meet Emma playing the role of Nina in a performance of “The Seagull” drunk or high, or perhaps both as she spins out of control. The character’s despair becomes her own and her meltdown lands her at the very clearly marked reception desk at a rehab clinic, where she staggers through the intake process, offering up a lengthy list of things she’s swallowed or snorted in the previous 24 hours.

She isn’t content with getting high from drink or recreational pharmaceuticals, she also gets her highs from performing as well, and therein lies the rub. “Acting gives me the same thing I get from drugs and alcohol,” she proclaims matter-of-factly. “Good parts are just harder to come by.”

The show, which first opened in 2015 at London’s National Theatre before transferring to the West End, is kinetic and, despite Emma’s plight, her multiple efforts to get clean are both revealing and engaging.

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