The sun will come out as the Westerville Parks & Recreation Civic Theatre celebrates five years with "Annie" at Westerville Central High School, 7118 Mount Royal Ave.

Show times are 7 p.m. Thursday, July 27, through Saturday, July 29, with matinees at 2 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, July 30.

Tickets cost $15 and will be available at the door.

"'Annie' is special because it is the origin story of optimism," said Matt Wolfe, co-director. "It's so easy to play the negatives in life. 'Annie' is reminder that the sun will come out tomorrow.

"'Annie' is a story about finding the joy in life through the tough times," he said.

Co-director Luke Bovenizer said the show is the perfect fit for Westerville Civic Theatre.

"We use a powerful, dancing ensemble and a posse of acrobatic, singing children to tell a classic story filled with heart and hope," Bovenizer said. "Our technical team has constructed a multi-level set, allowing the musical to fill the entire stage."

Bovenizer said a full orchestra of talented musicians from around the community will back up the cast.

"This is a show for all ages, and we look forward to sharing it with the Westerville community," he said.

Ten-year-old Olivia Bermudez, who plays the title character, said it's challenging to live up to all of the expectations from the great performers who have played the role before her.

"In addition, this is my first lead role," said Bermudez, a student at St. Michael School in Worthington.

"Getting chosen was a dream come true because 'Annie' has always been my dream role," she said. "The history behind 'Annie' is so amazing and for me, it's an honor to be able to carry on the 'Annie' tradition. "

Karla Kruse, who plays Miss Hannigan, said being a villain is something new for her.

"It is our goal to present a Hannigan people haven't necessarily seen before by giving her an added dimension and portraying her as a woman who is overworked, exhausted and simply trying to survive her circumstances," she said.

"Though Hannigan is rough around the edges and how she treats her orphans is certainly questionable, she would never hurt them and deep down does care about them and their well-being."

Kruse said she's excited for audiences to see the talented cast.

"We have some killer vocals as well as exhilarating dance numbers," she said. "The energy our orphans have will knock your socks off. I'm so proud of them and I've truly enjoyed getting to know all of them on and off stage."

James Minter, who plays Daddy Warbucks, said this show is his first step into musical theater in decades.

He's excited about being back on stage in Westerville, working with an extremely talented cast and crew who are passionate for the arts and driven to deliver a quality production, he said.

"'Annie' reveals the importance of genuine relationships, the desire to be loved and accepted, and the joy of experiencing true happiness when we share our lives with those we care most about," Minter said.

Katy Weaver, a member of the ensemble, said audiences will get their first taste of the magnitude of the production when 30-plus ensemble actors come together to tell the story of the Great Depression's poor in Hooverville.

"In this high-energy number, the ensemble switches between postures of dejection to those of reminiscing and sarcasm," Weaver said. "I hope the audience understands the plight of these poor people, yet thoroughly enjoys their time with us in Hooverville."

Elizabeth Murphy, another ensemble member, said there are huge production numbers, with everyone singing and dancing.

"The ensemble sets the tone for the scene, the ensemble tells the story, the ensemble is the engine that drives the train," Murphy said.

"Every ensemble member can associate with the importance of his or her role in the show, and I could not be more proud to identify myself with the 'Annie' ensemble," she said.

Monica Pedrozo, who plays Lily St. Regis, said it has been an incredible experience participating in the show with her two sisters, Giana and Mary.

"I have such a sense of pride watching them perform and seeing how hard they work, it pushes me to become better," Pedrozo said.

"This production is all about family and the love we share and getting to tell that story with the two people closest to me has made this one of the most meaningful theater experiences I've ever had," she said.

Pedrozo said the show has definitely brought her and her sisters closer and she knows the production will have the same effect on audiences.

Most of the Westerville schools are represented by members of the cast. Others schools represented are those of the Big Walnut and Olentangy school districts, St. Paul's School, Immaculate Conception School in Clintonville, Metro Early College Middle School and the Wellington School.

Wolfe said he hopes audiences will walk away from the show feeling better about their day.

"It's a musical to make you smile, with large dance numbers and familiar songs," he said. "You are sure to leave humming a tune."

All three Westerville high school theater groups will sell concessions during intermission, with all of the proceeds going to their programs.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla