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Olney Theatre Center Annie

By • Nov 30th, 2010 • Category: Reviews
Annie
Olney Theatre Center
Olney Theatre Center, Olney, MD
Through January 9th
2:30 with one intermission
$26-$54
Reviewed November 24th, 2010

There is just something about Annie, the timeless tale of the plucky little orphan who helps to end The Great Depression. And even with all the great productions, both stage and screen, Olney Theatre Center absolutely takes the cake. This production was sheer excellence in every aspect. It is an absolute must-see and is worth every penny of the cost and more.

In the title role, Caitlin Deerin was magical. Her opening rendition of “Maybe” was beautiful and heartfelt and left behind goose bumps and teary eyes. Her charming portrayal made it easy to see how Annie touched the lives of everyone around her. She had a powerful belt and is definitely a young lady on her way up.

Equally amazing was the performance of George Dvorsky as Daddy Warbucks. His Warbucks was suave and sexy, making it easy to see the effect he had on Grace. Dvorsky was able to mingle that perfectly with the other aspects of Warbucks’ personality: the powerful business man and the warm-hearted father. His rich vocals filled the room.

Strong performance after strong performance was the beauty of this production. Channez McQuay’s comically wicked Ms. Hannigan, Carrie A. Johnson’s classy, sweet Grace Farrell, Bobby Smith’s slimy and slick Rooster, and Jenna Sokolowski’s tacky and twisted Lily St. Regis were all spot-on performances accompanied by stong, beautiful vocals and harmonies. The cast also worked well together as an ensemble, knowing when to step into the limelight and when to pull focus. The orphans (Nia Smith, Lily Descepolo, Jacqueline Kempa, Colette Youstra, amd Madeline Heyman) all demonstrated boundless energy, clean execution of choreography, fast-paced delivery, and powerful vocals. They were extremely professional young ladies. Although she occasionally fumbled the choreography a tiny bit, Heidi Kaplan’s Molly was so adorable and filled with energy that it didn’t matter. For such a very young girl, she possessed comedic timing that was impeccable.

Best of all, the strong performances did not stop with the leads of the production. Every tiny featured character was portrayed with the same consistent and creative energy, enthusiasm, strong vocals, characterization, and comedic timing of the leads. Two particularly strong scenes were in Hooverville, when the ensemble delighted with the number “Hooverville,” and in the White House with the charming reprise of “Tomorrow.”

The most amazing component of the production was the set, artfully designed by Ming Cho Lee. The artwork was truly beyond comparison. The two-dimensional drawings on his drops looked so realistically three-dimensional that the oval office truly appeared oval and, in Hooverville, it really looked like the bottom of the train tracks were jutting over the stage. The actual set pieces were creatively designed including interesting angles to constantly make the set feel like the comic strip and larger-than-life. The show was also brilliantly designed and staged in such a way that the action never paused for a set change. Pieces moved up and down or rolled on and off while action was continuing.

Every aspect continued the trend. Sound was perfectly balanced. Lighting was appropriate and added to the set design without drawing attention. Choreography was clever and interesting without drawing focus from the lyrics and character development. The blocking felt natural and, at the same time, made “pretty pictures” with the cast. The orchestra was solid and sounded beautiful but left the emphasis to the powerful vocal performers.

If you are looking for a Broadway-caliber production in a local setting, this is it. This is the most professional, clean, and creative local production that this reviewer has ever seen. It was truly exceptional and in a class by itself.

Cast

  • Molly: Heidi Kaplan/Sadie Rose Herman
  • Pepper: Adalia Jimenez/Nia Smith
  • Duffy: Kylie Sage Cooley/Lily Discepolo
  • July: Rachel Olivia Condliffe/Jacqueline Kempa
  • Tessie: Sydney Maloney/Colette Youstra
  • Annie: Caitlin Deerin
  • Kate: Madeline Heyman/Carolyn Youstra
  • Miss Hannigan: Channez McQuay
  • Bundles: Alan Hoffman
  • Dog Catcher: Andrew Sonntag
  • Officer Ward: Jason Lott
  • Sophie the Kettle: Janet Aldrich
  • Apple Seller: James Konicek
  • Grace Farrell: Carrie A. Johnson
  • Drake: James Konicek
  • Mrs. Greer: Janet Aldrich
  • Mrs. Pugh: Jamie Ogden
  • Daddy Warbucks: George Dvorsky
  • Star to Be: Autumn Seavey
  • Roxy Usherette: Jenna Sokolowski
  • Rooster Hannigan: Bobby Smith
  • Lily St. Regis: Jenna Sokolowski
  • Bert Healy: Andrew Sonntag
  • Sound Effects Man: Bobby Smith
  • Fred McCracken: Alan Hoffman
  • Jimmy Johnson: Jason Lott
  • Bonnie Boylan: Janet Aldrich
  • Connie Boylan: Jamie Ogden
  • Ronnie Boylan: Allie Parris
  • Kaltenborn’s Voice: Jason Lott
  • Ickes: Andrew Sonntag
  • Frances Perkins: Janet Aldrich
  • Hull: Alan Hoffman
  • Morganthau: Jason Lott
  • FDR: Rob McQuay
  • Howe: Leo Christopher Sheridan
  • Justice Brandeis: Alan Hoffman
  • Ensemble: Janet Aldrich, John Dellaporta, Alan Hoffman, Jame Konicek, Jason Lott, Rob McQuay, Jamie Ogden, Allie Parris, Autumn Seavey, Leo Christopher Sheridan, Bobby Smith, Jenna Sokolowski, Andrew Sonntag
  • u/s Annie: Lily Discepolo/Adalia Jimenez
  • u/s Daddy Warbucks: James Konicek
  • u/s Miss Hannigan: Janet Aldrich
  • u/s Rooster Hannigan: Andrew Sonntag
  • u/s Grace Farrell: Jamie Ogden
  • u/s Drake: Jason Lott
  • u/s Lily St. Regis: Allie Parris
  • u/s FDR: Alan Hoffman
  • Female Swing: Autumn Seavey
  • Male Swing: John Dellaporta
  • Dance Captain: Bobby Smith

Orchestra

  • Piano/Conductor: Christopher Youstra
  • Violin: Patricia Wnek
  • Soprano, Tenor, & Alto Sax, Flute, Piccolo, Clarinet: Patrick Plunk
  • Trumpet & Flugelhorn: Craig Taylor
  • Trombone: David Blackstone
  • Percussion: Mike Ranelli

Production

  • Artistic Director: Jim Petosa
  • Managing Director: Amy Marshall
  • Director: Mark Waldrop
  • Musical Director: Christopher Youstra
  • Choreographer: Tara Jeanne Vallee
  • Scenic Designer: Ming Cho Lee
  • Costume Designer: Theoni Aldredge
  • Lighting Designer: Charlie Morrison
  • Stage Manager: Renee E. Yancey
  • Wig Designer: Anne Nesmith
  • Sound Designer: Christopher Baine
  • Producing Director: Brad Watkins
  • Technical Director: Eric Knauss
  • Company Manager: Bobby Maglaughlin
  • Costume Shop Manager: Jeanne Bland

Disclaimer: Olney Theatre Center provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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has been involved in theatre in the state of Maryland and DC for most of her life. She has acted, directed, choreographed, stage managed, and held a million other odd jobs. She has a B.S. in English from Towson University, and is currently pursuing her Master's Degree to become a Reading Specialist. She is a Maryland State Certified English, Theatre, Elementary, and Mathematics Educator. After teaching English and Drama for many years, she now teaches 6th grade Language Arts at Magnolia Middle School in Harford County, Maryland. She wrote the curriculum currently used in Prince George’s County Public Schools for Drama I and Drama II. She now writes and directs plays and musical for use in church.

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