Review: Community Theatre’s ‘Annie’

WHAT: “Annie” by Lake Region Community Theatres WHERE: Lake Region High School, Route 302, Naples SHOW DATES: Friday and Saturday, July 18-19 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, July 20 at 2 p.m. TICKETS: Adults $16, children $12 (under 12) CONTACT: www.lrctme.org  (Photo by Tracy Mushrow)

WHAT: “Annie” by Lake Region Community Theatres
WHERE: Lake Region High School, Route 302, Naples
SHOW DATES: Friday and Saturday, July 18-19 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, July 20 at 2 p.m.
TICKETS: Adults $16, children $12 (under 12)
CONTACT: www.lrctme.org
(Photo by Tracy Mushrow)

By April Boyle

(• Date reviewed:  Saturday, July 12)

Little girls. Little girls. Everywhere Lake Region Community Theatre (LRCT) turns, it can see little girls. The theater is staging Annie, directed by Mary Bastoni. And Lake Region High School’s stage is teeming with exuberant young performers.

Over 30 girls auditioned for the roles of Annie and her orphan friends. Wanting to cast as many as possible, the theater decided to double-cast, with rotating “pink” and “blue” groups taking on the primary children’s roles. When not in the featured group, the girls appear as unnamed orphans, bringing the cast to a sizable 38 members.

The pink cast starred Saturday night, with Margaret MacLeod stepping into the lead role of Annie. MacLeod was plucky as the beloved 11-year-old redhead, belting out her well-known songs with self-assured confidence.

Rachel Frum (Molly), Jessica Frum (Duffy), Madison Martin (Kate), Kara Moxcey (July), Sydney Mushrow (Tessie) and Emily St. John (Pepper) joined MacLeod as Annie’s ragtag friends at the Municipal Girls Orphanage. The seven girls delivered an impressive performance of Hard Knock Life, complete with admirably executed choreography by Pamela Collins-Stahle and Samantha Scarf.

The alternate blue cast features Jordan Meier as Annie, with Fiona Murphy (Molly), Katie Edwards (Duffy), Alanna Nataluk (Kate), Liza Collins-Schrader (July), Fiona Brosnan (Tessie) and Collette Woodson (Pepper).

Along with the orphans and “Hooverville” children, Annie features of a cast of adult performers that will perform the same roles throughout the run.

Susie Mosca is delightfully cast as Miss Hannigan, the villainess audiences love to hate. Mosca delivers a memorable performance as the booze-guzzling orphanage matron. Her vocals are strong, and her performance is packed with humor.

Derrek Schrader and Savannah DeVoe nicely play off of Mosca as Miss Hannigan’s sleazy brother, Rooster, and his gold-digger girlfriend, Lily. The three deliver an entertaining rendition of Easy Street.

Veteran actor Craig Holden stoically portrays the role of Oliver Warbucks. He is nicely paired with Teresa Dyer as Warbuck’s feisty assistant, Grace Farrell. Dyer delivers a standout performance, with powerful operatic vocals.

For the role of Annie’s scene-stealing stray, Sandy, LRCT has cast Jaffrey. The 14-month-old dog is in training to assist people with disabilities. Bracelets made by the “Annie” orphans are being sold at intermission to benefit the program.

There are several set changes in the production, and LRCT’s talented scenic painters have done a fine job crafting the various locales. Warbuck’s private art gallery is particularly eye-catching, with replicas of such famous works as da Vinci’s Mona Lisaand Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring.

LRCT’s cast and crew have clearly put a lot of work into bringing Annie to the stage. They are also having fun doing so. The production is an enjoyable family show that showcases the talent of the community and a great way to get young people excited about the world of theater.

April Boyle is a free-lance from Casco. She can be contacted at: aprilhboyle@yahoo.com and Twitter: @ahboyle

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