“Little Orphan Annie” may have disappeared from the comic pages of American newspapers, much like newspapers themselves, but her spirited message of hope lives on thanks to Broadway and the beloved musical that bears her name. To kick off the holiday season, she returns to Oak Ridge Playhouse once again.
Boasting one of Broadway’s most memorable scores, including “It’s the Hard-Knock Life” and the ever optimistic “Tomorrow,” the original Broadway production of Annie opened in 1977, winning Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Now produced all over the world, it is ranked among the top 20 longest running shows in Broadway history, and continues to be one of the most successful musicals ever.
As familiar as most of us are with the spunky orphan determined to find her parents, there is always another generation that is new to the story of the adorable red-headed Annie who was left as a baby on the steps of the New York City Municipal Orphanage. After years of toiling under the iron fist of the embittered Miss Hannigan, Annie escapes and ends up a guest at the home of the world’s wealthiest man, Oliver Warbucks. But even living in the lap of luxury doesn’t deter Annie from her goal of knowing who her real parents are.
“It’s interesting how relevant the show is today,” says Managing Director Reggie Law, who is directing “Annie” for the fourth time in his career (his third at the Playhouse.) “It takes place during the Great Depression when there was so much economic suffering and dissatisfaction with the government. Who among us has not held onto a dream of the sun coming out tomorrow?”
The Playhouse offers up a sparkling and attractive production featuring a cast led by Rylee Griffis as Annie and Dan Maxwell as Daddy Warbucks. Jessica Magers-Rankin appears as the dreadful Miss Hannigan and Laura Schoonmaker as Warbucks’ private secretary Grace Farrell, with Boyce Templin and Amanda Lebiszczak as sinister Rooster Hannigan and his girlfriend Lily St. Regis.
Featured as Annie’s orphan pals are Eliza Kate Bonneville, Mariana Kate Harrison, Celeste Paultre, Maggie Keener, Tori Beth Sullivan, and Emaleigh Marshburn.
The show opens this weekend with performances on Friday, Nov. 22, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 23, at 8 p.m. Performances continue Thanksgiving night at 8 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 29, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 30, at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 1 at 2 p.m.
Final performances will be Friday, Dec. 6, and Saturday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m., and Dec. 8 at 2 p.m.
For more information, log on to www.orplayhouse.com or call (865) 482-9999.
Tickets range in price from $16 to $22 depending on performance date. This production is also made possible through support from WUOT 91.9 FM and the Tennessee Arts Commission.