Saturday, July 2, 2016

“Annie Jr.” in Bigfork Musical Live on Stage at the Edge Center

Once again the Stages Theater Company from Hopkins MN brings a special treat to Bigfork for the young and young at heart to enjoy.  “Annie Jr.” will be on the Edge stage with lots of music, singing, great sets and a wonderful cast of 20 young people and two adults to entertain the audience.  “Annie Jr.” is one of the many adaptations evolved from the 1977 Tony Award winning Broadway musical "Annie".  “Annie Jr.” features many of the same songs and based on the same beloved story of an orphaned girl, her dog, mean-hearted orphanage head, Miss Hannigan,  and “larger than life” rich grown-up, Oliver Warbucks, who helps her through the trials of her tough life. The story will melt the hearts of audiences of all ages. ‘Annie Jr.” will be on stage at the Edge center in Bigfork this July for a treat aimed at the hearts of audiences of all ages.  “Annie Jr.” will be in Bigfork Friday through Sunday July 15 through 17 at The Edge Center in Bigfork. Performances are on Friday and Saturday 7PM and Sunday 2PM. Prices $10 for adults and $5 for children. 

This is a Stage Theatre Company’s production and is this year’s special treat for our community.  The Broadway Tony Award winning hit “Annie” and all of its adaptations are based on the “Little Orphan Annie” comic strip by Harold Gray. The Broadway musical opened in 1977 and ran for six years. That set a record, at that time, for the Broadway Alvin Theater. The musical resulted in many productions in numerous countries. The play’s two most popular songs “Tomorrow” and “it’s and Hard Knock Life” are just two of the songs that helped it to the top. 

The version Stages will present is one designed for young actors while keeping all of the appeal of the complete show still in tact. (See photos in this blog) 

About “Annie Jr.” artistic Director and CEO of stages, Sandy Boren-Barrett (above) says “Annie is a family favorite, and is one of the highest selling summer productions in our history.  The songs are so memorable, that families will leave the theatre singing them. The show has also had a revival on Broadway, as well as an updated movie in the past couple years." (more photos below)

"I think there are so many times in our kids lives when they look to the negative.  The message of this show, is still so valuable for kids, and that is to try to remain positive, to realize that sometimes your outlook on a situation can make a big impact on your journey.  Sometimes at the end of the day, just realizing that things are bound to be better ‘Tomorrow’ CAN make you feel better, as corny as that sounds.”
“Annie Jr.” is the Music Theatre International (MTI) shorter version of the full Broadway musical that has been adapted for a younger cast and made appropriate for an audience of all ages. From the MTI web site, Annie Jr. is described as being with an “With equal measures of pluck and positivity, little orphan Annie charms everyone's hearts despite a next-to-nothing start in 1930s New York City. Annie is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of an orphanage run by the cruel Miss Hannigan. (above) Annie eventually foils Miss Hannigan's evil machinations, finding a new home and family in billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary, Grace Farrell, and a lovable mutt named Sandy.

This production of Annie Jr. in Bigfork is produced by the Stages Theatre Company (STC) which was founded in 1984 and since then has grown to become one of the largest professional theatres for young audiences in the country. STC engages young artists with themes relevant to their lives and produces work, which features young people in significant and meaningful roles. It annually serves more than 130,000 young people and their families. STC has been producing these young people’s productions in Bigfork for a number of years and the productions have become part of a summer entertainment traditions at the Edge Theatre.

Sandy says that, “ The cast is made up of 20 youth and 2 adult actors.  Both of the adults, Marilee Mahler (Miss Hannigan) and Bruce Rowan (Daddy Warbucks) have been to The Edge Center with previous Stages Theatre Company summer shows.   The youth in the cast are a diverse group of talented actors ages 10-17, about half the youth in the cast will be making their first trip to Bigfork to perform. This is the third time I have directed this show, and frankly I am as excited about it this time, as I was the last time.  This is a timeless tale that still has relevance today.  The real separation or difference between those that are wealthy, and those that are not, lie is how much ‘stuff’ they have, not in how they feel, they all want to be loved, and to love.  You see that in the orphans, and you see that in Warbucks, and even in Miss Hannigan.  Daddy Warbucks says it himself, when he says without someone to share it with it simply doesn’t matter.  This is so valuable and so true.”

Find out what happens when Annie is invited to stay a week with billionaire Oliver Warbucks. We can tell you that after winning her way into his heart, Warbucks offers to adopt her. Annie wants to find her real parents, so Warbucks begins a nationwide search, offering a large reward. We can also tell you that the orphanage's Hannigan hatches a plan to kidnap Annie and steal the money. Come and see how this all ends at the Edge Center in Bigfork on stage Friday through Sunday July 15 through 17 at The Edge Center in Bigfork. Performances are on Friday and Saturday 7PM and Sunday 2PM. Prices $10 for adults and $5 for children. 

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