The Stevensville Playhouse is producing “Annie,” the well-loved musical about orphans and Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s.

“We have a full cast and have been working really hard,” said Susan McCauley, artistic director.

The production has nine orphans even though the script calls for seven “because all the little girls were so adorable.”

The production is the traditional Broadway musical version based on the Little Orphan Annie comic strip, with music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and book by Thomas Meehan. "Tomorrow" and "It's the Hard Knock Life" are two of the most popular songs.

Annie is an orphan looking for her birth parents. She is selected by millionaire Oliver Warbucks to spend the Christmas with him. Annie influences the hearts of all she meets and has an impact on historical decisions.

“We’re not doing the movie and a lot of people are confused by that because the movie took a lot of liberties,” McCauley said. “It has been a lot of fun with ages from 6 to 70 and we have many first timers.”

McCauley said that casting Annie was a fun part of the auditions.

“When we had auditions, this little girl walks in who is Annie incarnate,” McCauley said. “She walked in with the attitude of Annie and had red curly hair. When she sang, oh my gosh, she had the most beautiful little voice. I put her in several different scenes and I could just see Annie there. It was just the way it was supposed to be.”

As Annie, Natalie Hawkes had to learn more than 300 lines, and a lot. But the learning opportunity went beyond that.

"You know, I never really thought about it, but I am just really grateful that I have a home, family and food,” Hawkes said.

Jaime Williams portrays Miss Hannigan.

“Jaime came in to the theatre because her daughter was interested and now she is rocking it out as our Miss Hannigan,” McCauley said. “She has put a lot of energy into creating the character. I enjoy watching someone transform themselves.”

The musical production is an opportunity to showcase many talents.

“The children’s voices are phenomenal,” McCauley said. “My husband is Daddy Warbucks and he has a gorgeous voice, but I might be a little but prejudiced. He has several solo pieces that just melt your heart.”

McCauley said the show is family friendly, but it's not just a children's show.

“It has political aspect and the social issues of poverty versus the well-to-do and the history of Roosevelt and the New Deal,” she said. “It is very historically accurate in that it shows what it was like in the ‘30s. Each character in the show didn’t exist, but the issues did. Kids in the show are learning about history through theater.”

The Stevensville Playhouse production has talented actors and backstage help.

“Michelle Post from Groovz is doing the dance choreography; the dance numbers are really cool,” McCauley said.

Karen Wandler is the costume designer who gets the 65 costumes as close to the 1930s as possible.Dean Diers made the massive set that morphs from the orphanage to the mansion.

Along with Hawkes and Williams, the cast includes Claire Uskoski as Molly, Allyn Zeiler as Kate, Ara Masar as Tessie, Kyslei Williams as Pepper, Elan Fleck as July, Reyna Post as Duffy, Violet Stuart as Jan, Jocquelynn Grant as Susie, April Hawkes as Grace and Ronnie Boylan, Daphne Jackson as Lilly, Lily Sturgill as Mary, Connie Boylan, and crowd; Isabella Heidtman as Jane, Bonnie Boylan, and Annette; Christy Uskoski as an apple seller, Cecille, and crowd; Amanda Sturgill as Sophie and Mrs. Greer; Ariel Almaguer as Peggy and Mrs. Pugh; Jim McCauley as Oliver Warbucks; David Best as Rooster, Officer Ward, and crowd; Robert Gerber as Roosevelt; Tom Rau as Howe, Fred, Burt Healy, and Bundles; Jalen Sturgill as Ickes, Drake, and crowd; Elijah Scatolini as Perkins, Artie, and servant; Ethan Scatolini as Ira, McCracken/Wacky and crowd; Marin Masar as Eddie, dog catcher, Johnson, and crowd; and Nellie (a goldendoodle mix) as Sandy.

The crew for “Annie” is Susan McCauley - artistic director, Michelle Post – choreographer, Julie Ludington and Hazel Smith – pianists, Daphne Jackson - stage manager, Karen Wandler and Vicki Varichak – costumes, Dean Diers – set, Zach Mattijetz and Zoe Wedel - tech lights, and Gabe Rau, Rod Harsell, and Jim McCauley - tech sound.

"I am so glad I'm not an orphan and that I have a family that loves me," said Claire Uskoski, who portrays Molly.

Enjoy “Annie” at the Stevensville Playhouse 7:30 to 10 p.m. Dec. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, and 2 to 5 p.m. Dec. 3, 10, 17.

Tickets are $12 or $15, and can be purchased on line at stevensvilleplayhouse.org, or at the door - 319 Main St. Stevensville. The box office opens an hour and a half before showtime.

Upcoming Stevensville Playhouse productions are “The Acousticals” 7:30 to 10 p.m. Jan. 27; “James And The Giant Peach” 7:30 to10 p.m. Feb. 23, 24 and March 2, 3; and 2 to 5 p.m. Feb. 25 and March 4 (auditions 7 p.m. on Jan. 9).

“Stevensville High School Performance” 7:30 to 10 p.m. March 28 - April 8. “Mousetrap” 7:30 to 10 p.m. May 11, 12, 18, 19, and 2 to 5 p.m. May 13 and 20 (auditions 7 p.m. March 26 and 27.

For more information, call 406-777-2722 or email info@stevensvilleplayhouse.org.

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