How many adjectives are you allowed when you praise a musical? Unlimited, if you’re writing about 5th Avenue Theatre’s production of the vintage Broadway musical, “Annie,” which is happily nestled in the theatre’s Christmas show slot.

“Annie” is one of the best musical theater productions this critic has seen in Seattle. Thanks to the talented director, Billie Wildrick, everything about it works perfectly. The cast is fantastic, and the music, scenery and costumes are marvelous. The choreography is terrific. And, as an added bonus, you can hear and understand every word.

Based upon the popular Harold Gray comic strip, “Little Orphan Annie” (1924-2010), the musical “Annie” was created by Thomas Meehan (book), Charles Strouse (music), and Martin Charnin (lyrics). It stormed onto Broadway and won the hearts of New York audiences. It nabbed the 1977 Tony for Best Musical.

Annie is a spunky 11-year-old redhead who as a baby was left on the doorstep of the orphanage by her parents with a note and a locket. She believes they will come back for her. Meanwhile, she’s stuck under the care of Miss Hannigan, the villainous matron director of the orphanage. When Grace Farrell (the lovely Jessica Skerrit), Oliver Warbucks’ capable Girl Friday, comes to the orphanage to take Annie away to live with the billionaire over Christmas, Miss Hannigan has a hissy fit. But not Annie — her life is about to change forever.

Making her 5th Avenue debut as Annie, Visesia Fakatoufifita gives an inspired performance. She’s a vocal powerhouse. Her voice soars through the theater and wraps around our hearts. And she’s also a wonderful little actress. FYI: Fakatoufifita shares the role with Faith Young. They were chosen from 500 aspiring Annies.  

As billionaire Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks (the glorious Timothy McCuen Piggee) blusters, commands and drops names — he’s used to having his own way. Then Annie comes into his home, and his heart melts. As do ours while listening to Piggee’s melodious baritone. He’s always great, but especially appealing in this show, as he goes from gruff to tender. So much so, we wish we were orphans, so he could adopt us. 

What a treat to see the amazing Cynthia Jones back on the Seattle stage. She is wickedly delicious as Miss Hannigan. Miss A hates everything about her job, especially “Little Girls,” a song Jones belts out with menacing pizazz. She owns the stage. And how delicious is the lyric, “Some night I’ll step on their freckles”?

The orphans feel the same way about Miss A. They do all the work, while she tipples from her flask and sidles up to delivery men. She wants to drip diamonds, instead of cheap boas. She longs for a man to nibble on her ear—and perhaps elsewhere. She’s eager; they’re not.

When Miss A’s younger brother Rooster (a conniving Dane Stokinger), an escaped convict, shows up with his crass, gold-digging tart of a girlfriend, Lily St. Regis (the divine Cheyenne Casebier), trickery’s afoot. The dynamic trio delivers a show-stopping number, “Easy Street.” The three of them plot to swindle Warbucks out of big bucks by masquerading as Annie’s long-lost parents, the tasteless Mudges. They wear tacky duds and brag that they are pig farmers.

All the cast members bring their characters to life with believability and panache — from the leads to the supporting cast to the smallest roles; many are double-cast. Oliva Juarez as little Molly, Annie’s best friend, is as sassy as she is adorable. Drake, Warbucks' butler, bustles with style and wit, thanks to John Patrick Lowrie’s performance. Since the setting is NYC, of course there’s an Irish cop, played with an appealing lilt by Matt Wolfe, who also doubles up as the cliché-dropping radio announcer, Bert Healy. The always outstanding Anne Allgood takes on three diverse roles. 

Tony Lawson shines as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who’s stuck cleaning up after his predecessor, Herbert Hoover, and dealing with the aftermath of the Great Depression. FDR even joins the reprise of “Tomorrow,” ordering his cabinet to sing along. This critic tried to imagine our leader with his cabinet doing the same.

And then there is Sandy, played alternately by Sunny and Macy. They are both rescue dogs, trained by the master dog whisperer, Bill Berloni; he whispers these orphans into stars. The darling doggy Sunny was on the evening I saw the musical; he got a rousing ovation.

The addictive score is loaded with familiar songs, including the infamous “Tomorrow.” Add to that, “Little Girls,” “Easy Street,” “Hard Knock Life,” “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile,” and this critic’s personal favorite, “Maybe.”

Choreographer Kelli Foster Warder and music director Caryl Fantel team up to create sensational production numbers. In particular, ”It’s a Hard Knock Life,” “I think I’m Gonna Like it Here,” and the dazzling Act 2 finale, Christmas at Warbucks’ mansion.

Pretentious theater sophisticates may turn up their noses when “Annie” is mentioned, but this critic loves the joyful musical. Set in the early 1930s, it celebrates a bygone era of heart and hope.

I’d gladly see it again tomorrow — bet your bottom dollar. 

“Annie” performs at 5th Avenue Theatre through Dec. 30. For tickets or information, contact the 5th Avenue box office at 206-625-1900