'Annie' opens Little Theatre's 30th season
PAMELA GLINSKISEBRING - Highlands Little Theatre opens its 30th season Wednesday evening with an evergreen play about overcoming hard times with optimism.
Published: November 6, 2012
Published: November 6, 2012
The musical, "Annie," is based on the comic strip character, Little Orphan Annie, created by Harold Gray.
The play, which is filled with comical moments, a devious plot and a great cast of witty characters, originally opened on Broadway in 1977 to critical acclaim.
"Annie" is set in New York City during the economic woes of the Great Depression. The lead character is a curly, red-haired waif, who longs to find her parents. Left on the doorsteps of a girl's orphanage in 1922 with only a note and half of a locket, Annie believes her mom and dad will return for her.
An escape in a laundry basket, the rescue of a stray dog named Sandy, and the opportunity to spend the holidays with billionaire Oliver Warbucks, all lead to unimaginable and "fun-filled adventures" for the spunky 11-year-old orphan with a big heart and big hopes.
"We really did try to pick out audience favorites for this year's performances. 'Annie' has always rated high with the audience polls," said director Mike McMillian, who has been involved with the Little Theatre as director and actor for about 14 years.
Besides, McMillian loves the story.
The crowd was thrilled with performances of musical favorites like "Tomorrow" by "Annie" star Larissa Meagher, and Bill Davis as Daddy Warbucks singing, "I don't need anything but you!"
"This is only my second show here," said Davis, who recently portrayed Mitch Mahoney in "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee."
"I've been involved in theater since I was six," said the superintendent of the Country Club of Sebring, who moved to the area four years ago from Tennessee.
This is the first starring role for Larissa Meagher, one of this year's Heartland Idol winners. She has appeared in several plays, including "Secret Garden" and "Oklahoma."
Her mother, Amanda Mercer, is the show's musical director.
"This is my first show as music director…I have enjoyed it," she said of the production that offers the music of Charles Strouse with lyrics by Martin Charnin. "Everyone has worked so hard."
Zenon award winner Ellen Lemos played the alcoholic headmistress, Miss Hannigan, in a comedic style reminiscent of Carol Burnett's 1982 movie role.
"That's what I was going for," Lemos proclaimed.
In his first role with the Little Theatre, actor Jevon Dennis said that he was thrilled to be in the musical. "This is what I want to do with my life," said the 15-year-old Avon Park High School student.
Show sponsors, John and Diane Juve's 5-year-old goldendoodle, Bucky, was cast as the loveable mutt Sandy.
The dog's mild mannerism and soft, curly coat made him an ideal choice for the role.
"It's his first show," said John Juve with a smile. "They don't have too many roles for him down here."
Performances run from Wednesday through Nov. 18 on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m. Admission is $20 for adults, $10 for children.
For more information or to buy tickets, contact: Highlands Little Theatre, 356 W. Center Ave., Sebring, 382-2525 or visit: www.HighlandsLittleTheatre.org.