Twenty young orphans and a little dog named Sandy will bring the Broadway musical, Annie, to life at Gahanna Lincoln High School's auditorium Feb. 15-17, thanks to Gahanna Community Theatre.
"Annie will be a wonderful gift to all who come," said Char McCasland, producer and GCT founder.
The production will be directed by Ian Short, a Gahanna and Otterbein University graduate who lived in New York City before returning to the Columbus area, where he is a founding member of Available Light Theatre Company of Columbus.
Columbus resident John Brunner, formerly of Gahanna, plays Daddy Warbucks, sporting a real shaved head, while Lincoln High School drama teacher Cindi Macioce portrays the most "funny and zany" Miss Hannigan, McCasland said.
Ten-year-old Sara Tuohy, a Blacklick Elementary School fifth-grader, stars as Annie.
"I'm so excited," Tuohy said. "I like all the excitement and people seeing me perform. The first scene is a favorite, when we sing It's a Hard-Knock Life and I get in a basket."
When she was in the second grade, Tuohy performed with GCT, playing Gretel in The Sound of Music.
"Singing and dancing maids and servants, a wild and mean ol' dog catcher chasing a real live dog named Sandy around the stage and a full, all-volunteer orchestra that's 100 percent professional are just a few highlights of this magical thing called theater," McCasland said. "And GCT is the best in Franklin County of making this magic come to life."
Macioce said Annie is a family-friendly, feel-good show.
"It has a dog and kids in it. How can it miss?" she said.
Macioce said it's fun, scary, thrilling and strenuous to create a role in a production instead of directing it.
"Miss Hannigan is one of those dream roles that doesn't come around too often," she said. "I am always telling the kids to take risks with their work, and unless you give it a shot, you'll never know. I figured maybe I should take some of my own advice."
Macioce said she hopes parents bring their children to see Annie, offering an opportunity to develop another generation of theater-goers.
"The first Broadway Annie came out in 1977, and it is now in revival," she said. "Being in Annie does offer me an opportunity to connect with my students where they are right now. I am worrying about the same things they are: my lines, my music, my blocking and my characterization. Some of the kids have even offered to run lines with me."
Other Annie performers and their roles are Megan Pierce, Grace; Brian McCafferty, Rooster; Molly Clark, Lily; George Matchneer, FDR; Brian Belair, Bert Healy; Dayton Duvall, Drake; Meredith Clay, Molly; Revae Butler, Kate; Promise Winston, Tessie; Justine Orr, Pepper; Sydney Cannon, July; and Siri Nilsen, Duffy,
The orphans, all from Gahanna, will be played by Anna Belair, Annie Coon, Chayne Smith, Emily Miller, Georgia Curtis, Isabella Slavik, Jala Bassett, Kortney Grimm, Lilly Phillips, Madeline Cebriak, Mary Kate Gebhart, Natalie Petrusky and Sarah Coon.
Music director Chuck Miller is a Gahanna resident and retired band instructor with the Gahanna schools.
"It's a big production and one all of Gahanna and Franklin County can be proud of," McCasland said. "The thrill of seeing 20 beautiful and talented young ladies sing their hearts out and dance like crazy will certainly bring a sense of pride and happiness to all audiences."
The show will be held at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 15-16, and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17.
Tickets cost $12 and may be purchased from any cast member or by calling 614-471-7445 or going online at gahannacommunitytheatre.org.
See more rehearsal pictures on ThisWeek's Facebook page at Facebook.com/RockyForkEnterprise.