Review


Photo by Deb Evans. Houston in August is the place to be for heat, humidity, and the some of the tops in youth theatre. Class Act Productions, in the suburb of The Woodlands, has an array of stunning talent in the form of actors, musicians, and designers. They all come together nicely for a remarkable production of Annie. And it all takes place in the huge Nancy Bock Center for Performing Arts. A huge venue that they fill up, aided perhaps by a clever marketing scheme. In the parking lot youíll see dozens of cars with their rear windows advertising Annie with nicely designed soap paint.

Seventh grader Morgan Starr stars as the title character, eleven-year-old redheaded orphan Annie. And she leads it well with energy and nice singing of I Think Iím Gonna Like It Here and her big solo Tomorrow accompanied by her adopted dog Sandy (the latter being a veteran in the role from nine years ago who never misses a cue, and who perhaps was born to play the role with her real name being Sandy). Annie leads an impressive team of orphans who get the show going by energetically grousing over their Hard-Knock Life, and then really outdoing themselves with their exuberant Youíre Never Fully Dressed (without a smile) song-and-dance number. They are all ruled over in the orphanage by the Little Kids-hating Miss Hannigan, and it doesnít get any better than dynamite talent Meredith Tyler. This senior from John Cooper High School is a rip with creative body language, facial expressions, voice, timing, drunkenness and desperate flirting with any guy unfortunate enough to come near.

Annieís life takes a desirable turn with her introduction to Daddy Warbucks, and college student Trey Westerburg fills the role with touching emotion as he falls for Annie, and he sings about it with a beautiful, smooth voice, especially moving in Something Was Missing while he clumsily tries to remember how to dance with his new partner. Complementing Warbucks Photo by Deb Evans. is his executive secretary Grace Ferrell, with Lauren Lawson imbuing her role with an inner gentleness you canít teach and tremendous vocals that leave you wanting more (and you can get more at Northland Christian Schoolís upcoming production of The Sound of Music where Lauren will play Maria).

Other great performances come from Miss Hanniganís sleazy brother Rooster (Spencer Crosswy) and his ditzy girlfriend Lily (Maddie Landers) who team up with Hannigan for a most memorable stroll down Easy Street. Sean Rooney channels Franklin D. Roosevelt, fireside chatting his way through the singing of Tomorrow. And the entire cast shines as happy rich servants, angry poor residents of Hooverville (who are still generous enough to be thank President Hoover and invite him to dinner), and a fantastic production of N.Y.C. with a feature solo by Star-to-Be Whitney Brandt.

Director Tina Kraft has every aspect of this high-quality production working flawlessly. Jonathan Shelledy and Joan Rothhammer have created magnificent sets for the orphanage, the mansion, and the sights of NYC, with a starlit sky that adds ambience to several scenes. Fayla Curryís choreography and the castís execution make the big ensemble numbers shine. And Musical Director Rae Moses and his orchestra are spot-on throughout this musicalís memorable score. So if you ever see any soap paint rear window signs for any Class Act Productions, you may just want to follow the car. I think youíre gonna like it there.

Performed August 3-5, 2007. 

Photos by Deb Evans.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~
Photo by Deb Evans.
 
Molly: Jenny Gee
Pepper: Alison Gieske
Duffy: Madisen Plum
July: Megan Miller
Tessie: Madeline Dennison
Kate: Lillian Buonocore
Annie: Morgan Starr
Miss Hannigan: Meredith Tyler
Photo by Deb Evans.Orphans:
Adeline Breaux
Alaya Carr
Sydney Crofton
Caroline Davis
Nicole Dunton
Amanda Eakin
Rachael Farnan
Kylie Foster
Lesley Huckabay
Morgan Kanaly
Julie Lewis
Azayra Ouzounian
Miranda Oxendine
Kendall Peterson
Joy Sabattus
Maitland Starr
Shelby Thompson

 


Bundles McCloskey: Keith Hale
Apple Seller: Kaley Baum
Assistant Dog Catcher: Nathan Sewell
Dog Catcher: George Downham
Sandy: Sandy
Lt. Ward: Craig Putman
Artie: Ricky Mora
Mary: Ashley Dunton
Eddie: Nick Venzin
Betty: Cecily Breaux
Ira: Aaron Boudreaux
Thurman: Andrew Novak
Sophie, The Kettle: Alyssa Porter
Fred: Joe Dougherty
Policeman #2: Vic Shuttee
Grace Ferrell: Lauren Lawson
Drake: Callen Myers
Cecille: Kelley Peters
Annette: Sharon Joncyk
Mrs. Greer: Alyssa Porter
Mrs. Pugh: Alex Cochran
Oliver Warbucks: Trey Westerburg
A Star to Be: Whitney Brandt
Street Boys in NYC:
Alan Boudreaux
William Denne
Colton Haffey
Casey Ponton
Matthew Schreiber
Kasey Steel
Tanner Thompson
Rooster Hannigan: Spencer Crosswy
Lily: Maddie Landers
Bert Healey: Tyler Lewis
Fred McCracken: Joe Dougherty
Wacky: Casey Ponton
Jimmy Johnson: Ricky Mora
Sound Effects Man: Clayton Colson
NBC Pages: Colton Haffey & Matt Schreiber
Ronnie Boylan: Kelley Peters
Bonnie Boylan: Alex Cochran
Connie Boylan: Caroline Obkirchner
Franklin D. Roosevelt: Sean Rooney
Louis Howe: Will Rogers
Francis Perkins: Diane Goldsmith
Cordell Hull: Keith Hale
Harold Ickes: Joe Dougherty
Henry Morgenthau: Tyler Lewis
Honor Guard: Devin Sewell
Justice Brandeis: Vic Shuttee
Hooverville Citizens, Warbuck's Staff, New Yorkers:
Brooke Allen
Photo by Deb Evans. Kaley Baum
Aaron Boudreaux
Whitney Brandt
Cecily Breaux
Madison Cagle
Julie Campbell
Marinah Carruth
Alex Cochran
Clayton Colson
Joe Dougherty
George Downham
Megan Doyle
Ashley Dunton
Macy Fontaine
Rachel Fritz
Caroline Giles
Diane Goldsmith
MacKenzie Haffey
Keith Hale
Chandler Harvey
Sharon Joncyk
Tyler Lewis
Hillary Moore
Ricky Mora
Callen Myers
Alex Nickolas
Andrew Novak
Caroline Obkirchner
Kelley Peters
Mackenzie Plum
Alyssa Porter
Craig Putnam
Will Rogers
Devin Sewell
Nathan Sewell
Vic Shuttee
Jason Spradley
Kayla Steel
Terran Swonke
Nick Venzin
Catherine Zirilli

Director: Tina Kraft
Musical Director: Rae Moses
Choreography: Fayla Curry
Stage Manager: Bethany Walkowicz
Lighting Design: Blake Minor
Sound: Andy Davis
Set Design: Jonathan Shelledy
Scenic Design: Joan Rothhammer

Photo by Deb Evans.

   

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