Play Review: Annie

A heartwarming musical in Crested Butte

By Kendra Walker

It was a packed house Saturday night as the Crested Butte community came out to support opening night of Annie, presented by the Crested Butte Mountain Theatre. Playing this coming weekend at the old Center for the Arts theatre on August 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m., Annie reminds us that, indeed, the sun will come out tomorrow.

The cast of kids and adults gave a toe-tapping performance of the comic-strip–inspired story about a redheaded orphan girl who stole the hearts of a powerful billionaire, New York City and even the president of the United States with her optimism, uplifting songs and lovable dog, Sandy.

Sadie Oleson did indeed steal the audience’s hearts as Annie, playing her headlining role with poise and calmly leading her fellow orphans in song. Hitting crowd-favorite ballads like “Maybe” and “Tomorrow,” young Oleson has a shining potential to delight audiences for years to come.

Mountain Theatre veteran Andrew Hadley plays the role of commanding billionaire-turned-softie Daddy Warbucks so naturally that one might wonder what his day job is. His confidence and charisma projected onto his peers and his affection for Annie was nothing but contagious.

Kelly Morris is charming and relatable as the kindhearted secretary to Warbucks, Grace Farrell. She floated around the stage with grace but also proved her comical abilities during clumsy stage exit maneuvers.

Mary Tuck played Miss Hannigan, putting the rest of our childhood villains to shame. She along with her accomplices Rooster (Jack Mangan) and Lily (Jen Hartman) brought a comical charm that you love to hate as they plotted together in the hopes of finding “Easy Street.” These three confirmed what I’ve always suspected: Villains are the most satisfying characters to play.

The cast of orphans clearly had fun playing into their misfit characters, as they gave enthusiastic renditions of “Hark Knock Life” and “Fully Dressed.” Congrats to all the orphans of the NYC Municipal Orphanage for giving such gusto to their performance (Luella Turner, Lilly Harper, Zoe Hanna, Tessa Wirsing, Anna Hartman, Vivian Clark, Tazlina Pozner, Lyra Mason, Jane Gross, Alyssa Loddovico and Tatiana Palhava Collins).

Rich Driscoll played a stoic FDR, and he and his cabinet members (Randy Swift, Peter Viets, Paul Merck and Barron Farnell) brought down the house with their musical “talents.” Paul Merck, Emily Rothman, Melissa Mason and Katie Thomas reminded us you’re never fully dressed without a smile, in the roles of Bert Healy and the lovely Boylan sisters.

The rest of the cast helped bring each scene to life as Warbucks’ servants, New York City dwellers and Hooverville urchins (Barron Farnell, Cash Lamar, Terri Harper, Lori Mason, Nola Hadley, Molli Owens, Oliver Van Tiel, Peter Viets, Murphy Morris, Malone Morris, Nash Mason, Avonlee Tomcak and Dusty as The Stray).

We can’t forget the MVP of the evening, the adorable Shiva, who nailed her role as Annie’s dog, Sandy. In a moment of realization that she had the audience’s full attention, Shiva’s eyes lit up and ears perked, soaking in the spotlight and proving that she was made for the spotlight. Oleson and the rest of the cast did a great job of keeping their composure as the audience reacted to Shiva’s moments of improv.

Annie was directed by Harry Woods, bringing a heartwarming musical to Crested Butte that all generations can sing along to and enjoy. Annie’s classic songs came alive with musical direction and choreography by Karen Janssen and Jesse Buchanan. William Spencer Musser transformed our mountain town into the Big Apple with his set design.

Last weekend’s performances sold out, so grab your tickets on cbmountaintheatre.org while they’re still available. Annie runs on August 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the old Center for the Arts theatre. Tickets are $25 for adults, $16 for students, $10 for children 12 and under.

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