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'Annie' finds home for holidays

Show runs through Dec. 9 at playhouse

POSTED: November 23, 2012 12:32 a.m.
Autumn Vetter/

Dona Cangelosi, left, helps Maria Cummo with her hair before a rehearsal for “Annie."

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The adventures of a little red-headed orphan and her dog will entertain Cumming Playhouse guests this holiday season.

BK Productions began a three-week run of “Annie” on Thursday. The show continues Thursday-Sunday through Dec. 9, except on Thanksgiving Day.

Producer Kathy Russell, who also plays Miss Hannigan in the show, said she and husband Bob, who oversees the music, wanted to bring a family-friendly production to the playhouse for the holiday season.

“There aren’t really that many holiday shows out there,” she said. “We decided we wanted to do something with children in it to bring families together for the holidays … and the final scene is a Christmas scene and it’s very heartwarming. So ‘Annie’ is a good fit for the holiday season.”

The show’s director, Amanda Leigh Pickard, who also plays Lily, said the classic show based on the comic strip “Little Orphan Annie” will delight audiences.

“It’s a great show to see just to be taken away from the dreariness of today. We’re not in a depression, but we’re pretty close,” Pickard said, noting that she’s loved “Annie” since she was 10 and had the chance to play the lead role.

“It was the first role I ever played … and since then, I’ve played every other role in the show except Miss Hannigan because I’m not quite old enough for that yet. I eat, breathe and sleep it.”

The tale of Annie, an orphan living in 1930s New York under the care of tyrannical Hannigan until she finds a new home with millionaire Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks, has been entertaining audiences since the musical debuted on Broadway in 1977.

It features many well-known songs, including “Hard Knock Life” and “Tomorrow.”

Marty Baker, who portrays four roles in the local production, said it won’t disappoint.

“The audience is going to love the kids,” he said. “The kids are going to steal the show and when audiences remember this show, they’re going to remember the kids. Not only are they cute, they’re really talented.”

Kathy Russell said there was no lack of young talent when casting the show, which features two different girls in the lead role.

“We had 100 people audition just for Annie,” she said. “It was quite unbelievable, so needless to say there were plenty of choices for orphans.”

Pickard said the entire cast is talented and “Annie” will provide much inspiration for the holiday season.

“The kids will make you laugh, the adults will make you cry, the dog will be a little surprise,” she said. “We’ve got some big surprises all the way through to the very last moment of the show … and the story is just such a testament to what one child can do.”

 

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