‘Annie’ opens this weekend at The Colonial

Olivia Allison

Opening this weekend on Saturday, March 11, at 8 p.m., the Colonial Actors Theatre Society (C.A.T.S.) will present “Annie,” featuring 65 local actors and singers, at South Hill’s Colonial Center for Performing Arts.
The classic musical production features several well-known, popular songs including “Tomorrow” and “Hard Knock Life.” The play follows “Little Orphan Annie” as she attempts to escape from her orphanage and find her parents, who abandoned her years ago. Her adventure leads her through New York City as she befriends President Franklin Roosevelt and even finds a new home with billionaire Oliver Warbucks.
The cast includes 35 children, including the leading role of Annie played by Sophie Crowder, plus 30 adults, all local talent who have pulled together to offer a wonderful production sure to entertain audiences of all ages.
“The entire cast is fabulous,” said Greg Thift, who portrays President Roosevelt in the play. “And all the kids provide a whole new level of energy.”
Added Gavin Honeycutt, who portrays Oliver Warbucks, “This has been awesome so far. This is my 10th show with the Colonial, and I would say by far this is one of my favorites. This one is very special. It’s been so much fun!”
Molly Kalua, 11, who will be portraying Tessie in the production, said she has enjoyed being a part of this play, her second at the Colonial.
“It’s a little crazy,” she said of the large cast size, half of which are children like her.
Elizabeth Black, 10, who will be portraying Duffy, also said she has enjoyed being a part of “Annie.”
“I like the big cast because I get to interact with more people,” she said.
“I’m playing the bad guy,” said Colonial performer Buster Freeze, who is also serving as musical director for the production. “I never get cast as the bad guy. It’s been really fun. Everyone has worked really hard, the kids have been great.”
Lead roles for the production include Sophie Crowder as Annie, Debbie Hayes as Miss Hannigan, Honeycutt as Oliver Warbucks, Susan Thompson as Grace Ferrell, Freeze as Rooster Hannigan, Michelle Harris as Lily St. Regis, Ava Crowder as Molly, Juliette Kirker as Pepper, Black as Duffy, McKinsey Franklin as July, Kalua as Tessie, Hailey Forbes as Kate, Thrift as President Roosevelt, Steven Rea as Bert Healy, Autumn Floyd as Connie Boylan, Jaden Moss as Ronnie Boylan, Jessica Moss as Bonnie Boylan and Koy Griffin as Drake.
Members of the Orphan Ensemble will include Analeigh Bardwell, Chealsea Briggs, Eliza Clary, Kathryn Griffin, Olivia Griffin, Kendall Hamm, Katie Hayes, Emily Kalua, Sara King, Audrey Lacks, Esther Lacks, Elizabeth Mann, Alivia Martin, Madison Michael, Karleigh Moss, Emerson Talley, Katie Waddill, GiVonna Williams and Taylor Wright.
Members of the adult ensemble will include Stephanie Black, Abram Briley, Liz Brown, Dawn Childers, Carole Griffin, Amber Hajducsek, Diamond Jones, Tommy King, Reb Kirker, Marah Michael, Linda Parham, Cynthia Silva, Eric Sjurseth, Lexy Sjurseth, Tanya Talley and Scott Walker.
The newsboys will be portrayed by Ethan Silva, Jackson Childers and Jack Wright.
Dance It Out Studio dancers will join the C.A.T.S. cast once again for this production, including dancers Amber Bettes, Rebecca Edmonds, Ellie Fulks, Meredith Graham, Ava Harris, Taylor Humpries, Macie Jones, Abigail Kindall, Shana Love, Lailah Malkin, Gracie Poos, Allanah Smith and Nicole Stanley.
The cast also features a member of the canine variety. The pup Sandy will be portrayed by golden retriever Wilson.
“‘Annie” is a classic, great, family show,” said Director Douglas Wright. “We think everyone from ages 4 to 104 will love this show.”
Wright also said that tickets sales for “Annie” have been brisk, and he and others expect certain performances to sell out.
“If you want tickets, come by the box office between 8:30 and 4:30 or go online 24/7 and get your tickets now!” he said.
The production is being sponsored by Parker Oil of South Hill, Boyd Honda and Boyd Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram of South Hill and Boyd Chevrolet Buick GMC of Emporia.
Additional showtimes include Friday, March 17, and Saturday, March 18, at 8 p.m. and Sundays, March 12 and 19, at 2:30 p.m.