Anna Hill

Anna Hill

Musical brings tale of Annie to life

NANAIMO – Young actors sing and dance during the story of orphaned girl.

Anna Hill is in character the moment she steps onstage.

With her mop of red curls and confident ear-to-ear grin, there’s no mistaking who she’s playing in Kismet Theatre Academy’s new show, Annie Jr. the Musical.

“I am kind of nervous, but not really,” said Hill, who stars as the orphan Annie in what will be her first-ever play. “I’m really excited.”

Students of Kismet Theatre Academy will sing, dance and perform a 60-minute version of Annie, the classical tale of an orphan in 1930s New York who’s chosen to spend the Christmas holidays with billionaire Oliver Warbucks. He wants to adopt her, but she still has a lingering hope of reuniting with her parents.

With Warbucks’ $50,000 reward on the line for information on Annie’s parents, a plan is hatched by the villainous Miss Hannigan, who runs the orphanage, her brother and his girlfriend.

Thomas Meehan wrote the book, with music by Charles Stone and lyrics by Martin Charnin.

Bonnie Catterson, director, said she chose the play because it’s fun, has catchy songs and there are great characters for the kids to explore.

“It’s a really great group of kids, they are pretty dedicated and they’re super sweet and very cute. Everybody is going to have heart-melting moments in this,” she said.

The performance is part of a musical theatre production course, where students aged eight to 13 learn how to sing and act. Almost all of the roles are played by girls, and many of the actors will take up more than one role, with the exception of main characters like Annie.

Ella Harvey, 13, is cast as Miss Hannigan and after watching the original movie, she can’t picture herself playing anyone other than the “iconic” villain. She said she likes that she can make the character her own.

“The Annie story is just so amazing in general that putting our new spin on it, it might just make people remember it,” Harvey said.

Annie Jr., the Musical opens this Friday (Feb. 26) at 7 p.m. at the Harbour City Theatre. There are also shows at 2 p.m and 7 p.m Saturday (Feb. 27) and Sunday (Feb. 28) at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for youths and seniors and are available at Catwalk Fashions and Kismet Theatre Academy.