'Annie' opens at Tidewater Players in HdG

Leapin' lizards! Just in time to put us in the holiday mood, the world's most famous orphan returns to the stage at Tidewater Players in the family-friendly musical, "Annie."

Set at Christmastime in Depression Era New York City, the show is directed and choreographed by Bel Air's Dickie Mahoney. Memorable numbers include "Tomorrow," "NYC," "Easy Street" and "I Don't Need Anything But You." Action ranges from the orphanage to "Daddy" Warbucks' mansion, to a radio show with the warbling Boylan Sisters ("You're Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile,)" and Hooverville, where the homeless skewer the president in "We'd Like To Thank You, Herbert Hoover."

"Annie" starts today (Friday) and runs through Dec. 9 upstairs at 121 N. Union Ave. in Havre de Grace. Friday and Saturday shows are at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees are at 3 p.m. Tickets are $18 for adults and $13 for children 12 and under. To reserve seats, order at http://www.tidewaterplayers.com or call 410-939-8433.

Bel Air Middle School sixth-grader Erin Bourn shines as the spunky Annie, who leads the orphans in "It's a Hard-Knock Life" and inspires President Franklin Roosevelt and his cabinet in the hopeful song, "Tomorrow." It's her first leading role.

Her dad, Rod, also in the cast, said, "She's making a dream come true, and it's really nice to be there with her."

His son, Colin, 13, is rehearsing for "Babes in Toyland," which will run the first weekend in December at Harford Community College.

Bel Air's Mike Schafer reprises the role he played at Tidewater nine years ago - "Daddy" Warbucks, the self-made billionaire.

"He's all business," Schafer said. "He keeps himself so busy with work that he doesn't realize there's something missing in his life."

Actress Laurie Starkey takes a walk on the dark side as Miss Hannigan, the matron of the orphanage.

"It's fun being nasty, especially since I work with children all day [at Havre de Grace Middle School]," she said. "I can take my frustrations out."

Among the irrepressible orphans are four Koncurats from Bel Air - Kelly, 9, who plays Molly; Julia, 10, who plays Lavern; Abby, 11, who plays Kate; and Rachel, 13, who plays Duffy. They are joined by their mom, Cathy, who last shared the stage with them in PFT's "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."

"It's definitely fun to do it as a family," she said.

Aleyna Call, 11, appears as orphan Pepper, who appears along with her dad, Matthew, who plays Cordell Hull. Rebekah Washburn plays orphan Tessie. Her sister, Kamberlynne, and her mom, Catherine, are in the adult ensemble. Catherine Washburn, music director for TheatreworksLive! ,said she wanted to be onstage with her daughters. She also noted, "There are 10 orphans. Five of them are natural redheads. All will have to be dyed or wigged. Annie - Erin [a brunette] - has to have a wig."

Gracelynn Fritz, 8, plays orphan July, and her sister, Lannon, 9, plays orphan Mary. Bridget Tramontana, 10, was excited to play orphan Lexie.

"It's my first big show. I was one of the mice in 'Cinderella' at TheaterworksLive!" she said.

Mark Briner takes his third turn as con-man Rooster Hannigan, this time sharing the stage with his daughter, Hayley, the star-to-be in the number "NYC." Tammy Opell reprises her role as slinky Lily St. Regis, his ditzy partner in crime. She said, "I would like to think she's playing a ditz. She's not a complete airhead." Along with Miss Hannigan, they sing "Easy Street," where they hope to land by defrauding Oliver Warbucks.

Stephanie Mahoney plays Warbucks' compassionate secretary, Grace Ferrell. Dave Guy returns - for the fourth time - as F.D.R.

Other cast members include Heather Bounds, Robert Bupp, Samantha Duly, Liz Galley, Natalie Knox, Michelle Neal, Carrie Dill, Marion Jackson and Michael Maistros.

"Annie" is one of the most popular family musicals of all time. Drop by Tidewater Players and discover - or re-discover - for yourself the reason why.

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