With its trademark songs, “Tomorrow” and “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” the 100 Mile Performing Arts Society production of Annie opened on Feb. 24 at Martin Exeter Hall.
“Lots of fun,” is how director Andrew Halladay describes the evening.
“The audience was engaged and the children who were there were mesmerized.”
Kelsey Schuurman, who plays the star role of Annie, was able to overcome some vocal strain that had been haunting her during the week.
“She did a great job. She’s very talented and mature for an 11-year-old, and handles problems like being sick, very well. “
Performers all handled their roles extremely well, says Halladay, including the troupe’s former director, Marie Hooper, who plays the part of nasty Miss Hannigan, the orphanage supervisor, and the trio of teens, Wyatt Gagne, Ben Pilger and Davis Majcher, who between them, portray 15 different characters in the play.
“They are really, really funny and their performances are of professional quality,” says Halladay, adding that the young people in the cast have been especially fun to work with.
“They’ve been so eager to work and picked up everything easily.”
With the production of Annie, Halladay says that the Performing Arts Society has satisfied its mandate of engaging young people and young families.
“The adults who are involved work hard to make sure these kids are having fun.”
Halladay adds a little something extra to the performance, himself, as he provides violin music while local musician, Jasmine Kreschuk plays piano throughout the play.
“We roll a 25 piece orchestra into two instruments, but it works well.”
As much as Annie is a superb musical which appeals to adults, most children are familiar with the story too, and recognize the songs. The stage production gives them another way to view it and Halladay highly recommends that people bring their children to see it.
In its second and final week, performances run at Martin Exeter Hall on March 3, 4 and 5 at 7 p.m., with a 1 p.m. matinee on Saturday as well.
Tickets are $15 and available at Donex, Didi’s and Curves.