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a Musical
by Thomas Meehan (Book), Charles Strouse (Music), and Martin Charnin (Lyrics)

VENUE : Roswell United Methodist Church [WEBSITE]
ID# 5306

SHOWING : July 26, 2018 - July 29, 2018



Based on the popular comic strip by Harold Gray, Annie has become a worldwide phenomenon and was the winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The beloved book and score by Tony Award winners Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, features some of the greatest musical theatre hits ever written, including "Tomorrow."

With equal measures of pluck and positivity, little orphan Annie charms the hearts of everyone despite a next-to-nothing start in 1930s New York City. She is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of a New York City Orphanage that is run by the cruel, embittered Miss Hannigan. With the help of the other girls in the Orphanage, Annie escapes to the wondrous world of NYC. In adventure after fun-filled adventure, Annie foils the evil machinations of Miss Hannigan and her brother Rooster... and even befriends President Franklin Delano Roosevelt! She finds a new home and family in billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary, Grace Farrell, and a lovable mutt named Sandy.

Choreographer Ashley Owens Cahill
Rooster Hannigan Loren Collins
Miss Hannigan Cecilia Harrington
President Franklin D. Roosevelt Jeff Hayes
Drake Justtyn Hutcheson
Star-to-Be/Ensemble Alyssa Wright
Grace Farrell Bess Yunek
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You’re Gonna Like It Here
by playgoer
Monday, July 30, 2018
"Annie" has become a mainstay of community musical theatre. As evidence, we have a single-weekend production of Agape Player’s "Annie" in Duluth playing head-to-head against Acting UP’s single-weekend "Annie" in Roswell. Both no doubt feature excellent physical productions, with sets and costumes galore. (Not having seen the Agape production, I can only judge based on their previous productions at the Infinite Energy Theater at Gwinnett Civic Center.)

Acting UP’s production has been created through the efforts of a whole slew of onstage and backstage staff. The massive set, designed by Julie Resh, uses an upstage platform with a curtained front to hide some set pieces (primarily the beds of the orphanage) and a background with three-sided panels that revolve to represent the orphanage office, a New York skyline, and Daddy Warbucks’ residence. Movable set pieces come on and go off in somewhat long scene changes that are covered by music from the full orchestra conducted by T. Dwayne Wright. It’s all very fluid and impressive.

Costumes, coordinated by Bonnie Roder, are as impressive as the set, and props, acquired by Cheryl Funsten, help fill out the production. Lighting (Mike Young) and sound (Tharen Debold) are also first-rate. Choreography, by Ashley Cahill and her assistants, is not overly complex, but provides fluid stage pictures that maintain visual interest.

Producing artistic director Rhnea Wright Ausmus has honed the action to emphasize the plot, so the story comes through loud and clear. Performances are a bit uneven, as to be expected in a community theatre production featuring a host of children, but the main roles are all filled competently. Addison Albrecht is a strong-voiced Annie (although blonde rather than red-headed), and Cecilia Harrington provides her nemesis Miss Hannigan with tons of inebriated energy. Bess Yunek is a sweet-voiced Grace, playing well against Mark Taylor’s tycoon-with-a-marshmallow-center Oliver Warbucks. Loren Collins’ Rooster Hannigan has a sly charm, and Jeff Hayes’ Franklin D. Roosevelt adds presidential mock-authority to a fine voice. All the principals, in fact, have fine voices.

Ensemble performances range from Jon Bauer’s look-at-me showboating to expressionless supernumerary dancers. Most everyone seems confident in his or her role(s), so this is a production that appears to have been well-rehearsed. The set changes alone must have taken some serious practice.

What sets a production above the average are touches that add entertainment value without distracting from the overall focus of a scene. Acting UP’s "Annie" has a couple of excellent examples. Julie Resh has a terrific bit with gum as Connie Boylan, and Cecilia Harrington does wonders with a chair at Daddy Warbucks’ house, having Ms. Hannigan snuggle into the chair as if it’s the luxuriousness she has always deserved, then checking beside the cushion for spare change. It’s moments like that that make a production truly memorable. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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