Broadway favorite “Annie” comes to Freed-Hardeman University’s Loyd Auditorium stage at 7 p.m. Nov. 8 and 9 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 10. Based on the comic strip “Little Orphan Annie,” the play embodies America’s “can-do” spirit, director Cliff Thompson said.
Annie, a spunky, red-headed orphan, lives a “hard knock life” at the hands of Miss Hannigan. Her fortune changes, however, when she is chosen to stay for a time in the home of Depression-era billionaire Oliver Warbucks. Full of iconic 1930s characters, the musical reminds the audience to never give up because, after all, “Tomorrow is only a day away.”
The FHU production features local children as orphans. Eden Burleson, sixth grade daughter of Doug and Kristi Burleson, plays the title role. Other children in the cast are Sadie Childers, daughter of Tim and Lee Ann Childers; Ava and Ella Hardin, daughters of Ethan and Ashley Hardin; and Ella and Emma Noles, daughters of Joe and Ramay Noles.
Nashville native Braden Miller plays Oliver Warbucks. Other principals include Jessica Clevenger as Mrs. Greer, Jessica Hixson as Mrs. Ferrell, Mariah Kerr as Pepper, Madison Wimmer as Lily, and Lakyn Wools as Mrs. Hanningan. FHU students from Chester County who are featured include Presley Connor, Katie Hodges, Bishop McLaughlin and Jon Michael Thompson.
The cast is comprised of 33 persons. An additional ten individuals are included in the directing and production staff.
Thompson said he selected this musical because of its upbeat message and themes. ”In a time of division and mean-spiritedness on social media, it’s good to pull away from the screen and enjoy a night of theatre with your friends and neighbors. ‘Annie’ reminds us all to keep our chin up and never quit,” he said.
In addition to Thompson, three others share directing duties: Gary McKnight, music director; Tansy Matheny, choreographer; and Becky Hartle, children’s director. Brandyn Graves is the scenic designer.
Tickets are $15 for reserved seating. They are available at www.fhutickets.com.