Little orphan Annie is coming to the Park Theater beginning this Thursday night at 7 p.m.
Irving College fifth-grader Karigan Smith stars as Annie in the production of “Annie Jr.,” a musical with 40 songs, according to director Logan Taylor.
The show features a cast of familiar characters, including the selfish Miss Hannigan and the welcoming Daddy Warbucks. Annie, an 11-year-old orphan, tries to navigate her way through a maze of troubles growing up in the 1930s after the Great Depression.
“This has exceeded my expectations by far,” said Taylor. “As I’ve been watching rehearsals over the past week I can’t help but think, ‘Wow!’ We have had some great casts during our productions in the past, but this is the best cast of characters we’ve had yet. This is a very talented group and the singing is great.”
Rachel Masters has been acting for 14 years and is currently a student at Tennessee Tech. She is learning to embrace the role of the diabolical Hannigan.
“She’s crazy, gross, a big drinker, and really just nasty,” said Masters. “I’m not much of a nutcase in real life, so it’s been fun figuring out this character.”
The production features 130 costumes, including four for Hannigan. Annie has two costumes and two wigs and is the first chance for Karigan to snatch the spotlight in a starring role.
“I was a dwarf in Snow White, but this is my first big role,” she said.
Actors have been rehearsing since the end of May with many of those practices held at West Elementary without air conditioning. Taylor says the work has paid off.
“Every play we’ve done, we have wanted to raise the bar a little from the one we did before,” said Taylor, who has directed four plays at Park Theater since it opened in May 2015. “This is the first Broadway musical I’ve ever done so we wanted to go all out and I’m really pleased with what we’ve done.”
Show times will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. with Saturday also having a 2 p.m. performance. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at the Park Theater website or at the door.