Review: Annie Rings in the Holly-days!!

by Jody Key — Managing Editor

One of the theater’s favorite classics, Annie will be opening at the Holly Theater this weekend just in time for the holidays. This musical based on the long-running comic, Little Orphan Annie, is as enchanting today as it was when it debuted on Broadway in 1977, winning the Tony for Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Book.

This rags to riches story set during the great depression tells the story of Annie–an orphan in New York City during the time of the Great Depression under Roosevelt’s new administration. Clara Waters plays the part of Annie and is an adorable presence on stage in her Holly Debut.

The orphanage is under the neglectful eye of Mrs. Hannigan, a flamboyant and lonely woman who is fond of the drink. She’s not quite suitable to run an orphanage as she hates little girls, but enjoys the perks the state provides her for making orphans’ lives miserable. In her Holly debut as Hannigan is Megan Jurkovic, but she’s no stranger to the stage. Megan has performed professionally across the globe and played Annie when she was younger. Jurkovic embraces this role with a side-splitting performance and amazing vocals. We hope to see more of Megan in the North Georgia theater community in the future.

Annie is asked to join billionaire, Oliver Warbucks, for two weeks in his mansion during Christmas time. Tommy Heaton turns in an endearing performance as Warbucks and does well with the task of balancing between a tough-hearted businessman who is soft-hearted deep down inside. In addition, his vocals are breathtaking and classic–truly a delight for the ears.

Every story needs a villian…or two…or three. Mrs. Hannigan’s diabolical brother Rooster and his girlfriend, Lily, create a trio that works together to benefit monetarily by scamming Annie and Warbucks on their way to “Easy Street”. Craig Lovell as Rooster and Taylor Cassell as Lily are a pair audiences love to hate.  Both Lovell and Cassell are Holly favorites and deliver enjoyable performances.

The beautiful Grace Farrell, Oliver Warbucks personal secretary is played by the exquisite Amber Wardell. Amber is returning to the stage after 14 years of raising her children. Her soprano voice is clear as a bell, with delightful high tones.

Under the capable direction of Nathan Gerrells, the musical direction of Heidi Rider, and the choreography of Keelie Collins, the ensemble does justice to the show with a satisfying performance. The orphans, while somewhat scrappy are all charming–I’d adopt any one of them. Probably what’s most impressive is the multiple roles the ensemble members play. From Hooverville bums down on their luck, to servants, to New York tourists. Kudos to the costume team as they probably fit each ensemble member with at least 3 costumes each or more. In addition, the costumes looked wonderful.

A special mention goes out to Adrian Ramsey as the Star to Be. Her presence lights up the stage and her vocals are amazing for her 13 years of age. This little firecracker is one to keep an eye on!

Annie Opens at the Historic Holly Theatre in Dahlonega this Friday and runs until December 16th. Tickets to this show are going fast, so get yours today at http://www.hollytheater.com/ 

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