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Another Version of "Annie"

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Of yet another Annie (Sunday, November 7; 7 to 9 p.m.; ABC), the best that can be said is that, minus commercials, it's only an hour and a half, whereas the big-screen Hollywood version of the Broadway musical ran two hours and eight minutes, after which some of us began to suspect that some kids deserve to be orphans. In this Rob Marshall (Cabaret) production, Kristin Chenoweth and Audra McDonald are better than they needed to be. And as much as I cherish Carol Burnett, she played Miss Hannigan in the movie like a Mongol horde; Kathy Bates is less cartoonish and more Dickensian. Likewise Tim Curry versus Alan Cumming, whose Rooster is a slimeball triumph here. As "Daddy" Warbucks, Victor Garber, who can sing, had to improve on Albert Finney, who can't. In homage to something or other, Andrea McArdle, the original Annie, shows up as "Star-to-Be" to belt out "NYC." At least the brat herself, Alicia Morton, appears without curls, but she still has to sing "Tomorrow." Nor will we even get into what Harold Gray, the right-wing comic-stripper, really felt about Franklin Roosevelt, who shows up to find homes in his welfare state for all these leaping lizards.


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