The musical “Annie,” featuring visiting professional actors as well as local children in key roles, will return to the Hope Summer Repertory Theatre stage beginning Friday, July 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the DeWitt Center main theatre.
The classic tale follows the story of the fiery, red-headed, young orphan stuck in a miserable orphanage under the care of the greedy Miss Hannigan. Her hard-knock life takes a turn for the better when she is chosen to live with the wealthy Oliver Warbucks. With the help of Mr. Warbucks, she discovers the meaning of family, love and friendship.
The production is an anniversary encore presentation. Hope Summer Repertory Theatre (HSRT) previously staged the audience favorite in 1997.
This year is also an anniversary for the musical itself. The original Broadway production of “Annie,” with book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, and lyrics by Martin Charnin, opened in 1977.
Hannah Johnson of Frankfort is playing the title role, selected after auditions of more than 65 girls held at Hope College in March. Other local children portraying orphans are Ava Britt and Isabella Britt of Holland; Ellie Brower of Grand Rapids; Elena Colacci of Minneapolis, Minnesota; Mariah DePoy of Holland; Jolie LaBarge of Holland; Lizzie Mathias of Grand Rapids; Summer Olshefski of Manteno, Illinois; and Charis Snyder of Zeeland. They have been mentored by New York City-based actress Laurie Veldheer, who had portrayed Annie in the 1997 production.
Others in the cast include Actors Equity Artists, Susan Eriksen (Miss Hannigan) and Chip DuFord (Roosevelt), Tom Bengston (Oliver Warbucks), Kristina Kastrinelis (Grace),
Olivia Lehnertz (Lily St. Regis ), Skye Edwards (Rooster), Connor Bernard (Fred McCraken/ Ensemble), Rachel Carreri (Cecile/ Ensemble), Lea Sevola (Ronnie Boylan/ Ensemble), Donna Federico (Mrs. Greer/ Ensemble), Nikki Savitt (Mrs. Pugh/ Ensemble), Emily Hadick (Annette/ Bonnie Boylan/ Ensemble), Madeline Jones (Connie Boylan/ Ensemble), Rakeem Lawrence (Drake/ Ensemble), Ben Love (Bert Healey/ Ensemble), Matt Sena (Lt. Ward/ Ensemble), Griffin Baer (Howe/ Ensemble), Kierney Johnson (Sophie the Kettle/ Ensemble), and Leila Jean (Sandy the Dog).
The director is Joe Niesen. The members of the production staff for “Annie” are: Colleen Accardo (assistant stage manager), Anne Bakker (managing director), Deborah Baxter (scenic charge artist), Jonathan Berg-Einhorn (props master), Lisa Borton (costume designer) Nick Carlson (assistant master electrician), Erin Carr (production stage manager), Ken Chamberlain (master electrician), Reagan Chesnut (operations manager), David Colacci (artistic director), Philip David DeYoung (music director), Emily Freeman (assistant props master), Caitlyn Garrity (assistant lighting designer), David Jackson (assistant stage manager), Hillary Jeffers (assistant costume designer), Tyler Knowles (sound shop supervisor), Alex Nelson (assistant technical director), Luke Parker (assistant sound shop supervisor), Tyler M. Perry (scenic designer), Stephen Sakowski (lighting designer), Chaz Arnett Sanders (assistant choreographer), Daniel Silverman (technical director), Andrew Souders (costume shop head), Fred Tessler (assistant artistic director), Eric Van Tassell (production manager), Amanda Werre (sound designer) and Corinne Williams (assistant stage manager).
Book for “Annie” is by Thomas Meehan, music is by Charles Strouse, and lyrics are by Martin Charnin.
Following the July 7 opening, “Annie” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 8; Monday, July 10; Wednesday, July 12; Friday, July 14; Tuesday, July 18; Thursday, July 20; Monday, July 24; Thursday, Aug. 3; Saturday, Aug. 5; Wednesday, Aug. 9; and Saturday, Aug. 12. There will also be 1:30 p.m. matinees on Saturday, July 15; and Saturday, Aug. 5.
Individual ticket prices for “Annie” range from $28 to $35 for balcony/orchestra seating and $32 to $40 for mezzanine seating. Children under 18 are $15. Season tickets for this year’s four main-stage productions are also available. Tickets may be purchased either at the ticket office in the Events and Conferences Office located downtown in the Anderson-Werkman Financial Center (100 E. Eighth St.), which is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be called at (616) 395-7890; or the ticket office in the DeWitt Center (141 E. 12th St.), which is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to intermission.