It’s a hard knock life in ‘Annie’

Published 10:32 pm Tuesday, April 24, 2012

TORMENTING MISS HANNIGAN (Pamela Barnes) with a mouse are orphans, front, left to right, Anabell Whitehead, Brooke Phillips, Annamarie Hall, and Aubri Donalson. Back, Alaiya Schuyler, Caylin Walsingham and Mattie Winburn. A Bainbridge Little Theatre cast will perform the musical “Annie” this coming weekend and the next.|Carolyn Iamon

By the time you leave Bainbridge Little Theatre’s production of Annie you will be cheering for the plucky little red headed girl and her dog Sandy. You might even want to adopt the orphans and take them home.

BLT’s production of Annie, the musical, opens at the Troupe Street Theatre on Friday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. and runs for two weekends.

The musical’s first appearance on Broadway was in April 1977, and starred Andrea McArdle as Annie. It was subsequently nominated for eleven Tony Awards, winning seven, including best musical score. Two of the best-known songs from the show are “Tomorrow,” sung by the optimistic little Annie, who strongly believes better days are coming, and “Hard Knock Life,” sung by the girls of the orphanage, who are not so sure. They are forced by the mean-spirited Miss Hannigan, orphanage supervisor, to do harsh chores as punishment.

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The well-known story, based on the Little Orphan Annie comic strip, is set in 1933 at the height of the depression. It is the story of 11-year-old Annie, who runs away from an orphanage in search of her parents who left her there as an infant.

Following Annie’s escape, she meets and bonds with an abandoned dog she names Sandy. When the dogcatcher tries to pick up the dog as a stray, Annie tells him it is hers. Annie and the dog become inseparable friends as they recognize in each other the need to belong to someone.

The large Bainbridge cast is headed by Dani Parker, who plays Annie and Pamela Barnes, who appears as Miss Hannigan. Thaddeus Nifong plays billionaire Oliver Warbucks. His secretary, Grace Farrell (Marie Stapleton), comes to the orphanage in search of an orphan to spend Christmas holidays at the Warbucks mansion, and chooses Annie.
Miss Hannigan’s never-do-well brother, Rooster (Justin Schuver) and his floozy girlfriend Lily (Brittany Morrow), come up with a scheme to get rich quick using Annie as bait.

Other cast members are Bert Healy, radio show host, played by Joshua Lynn; orphans: Molly (Annamarie Hall), Pepper (Mattie Winburn), Duffy (Alaiya Schuyler), July (Anabel Whitehead), Tessie (Brooke Phillips), Kate (Aubri Donalson) and Emma (Caylin Walsingham); servants: Austin Rowe, Grace Nettles and Jessica Tabarrok, Barbara Cliffe-Miller and Misty Brown; Boylan sisters: Stephanie Mills, Heather Phillips, and Taylor Strickland; cabinet members: Matthew Hoose, Alice Everhart, Joshua Lynn, Roger Porter, Tom Falls, Josh Roberson; Hooverville Kids: Ella Harrell, Mary Glenn Warr, Malore Inlow, Isabella Barrett and Abbey Hall; Hooverville woman, (Kathleen Sarrette), Sophie (Jenna Chambless), Apple seller (Jill Overman), Dog catcher (Caleb Inlow) sound effects and assistant dog catcher (Alexander Jacobik) and Lulu as the dog Sandy.

Veteran director Martha Mobley is in charge of the production. She said Thad Nifong directed Annie on the BLT stage 21 years ago. At that time she was one of the cast members and thoroughly enjoyed it. “I believe the reason Annie was and remains so popular is that it expresses an optimism and firmly-rooted belief that things will get better and the sun really will come out tomorrow.”

Mobley is assisted by Michael Inlow as music director, Susan Livingston-Higdon as choreographer, Bonnie Porter as producer, Steven Hayes as stage manager and a whole host of behind the scenes assistants and advisors so critical to the success of any stage show.

Showtimes are Fridays and Saturdays: April 27, 28, May 4 and 5 at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays, April 29 and May 6 at 2:30 p.m.

Reserve tickets are available by calling 246-8345 from 1 to 6 p.m. or by email at

Production photos by Carolyn Iamon: