Our favorite redheaded orphan is back! Don’t miss Annie, featured at the Wharton Center Tuesday, Dec. 16 through Sunday, Dec. 21. Directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin, this production of Annie will be a fresh take on the beloved original. Full of courage and positivity, Annie is set on finding her parents, who abandoned her as a baby on the doorstep of a local orphanage run by the uncaring, bitter Miss Hannigan. With some help and a lot of luck, Annie escapes the orphanage and finds herself in New York, a new and marvelous place unlike anything she’s ever seen. Amidst dodging Miss Hannigan’s evil plans, Annie eventually finds herself a new home and family with billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary Grace Farrell and her new puppy, Sandy. Lynn Andrews, who plays Miss Hannigan, says Annie is unlike any other show she’s ever done. “There’s nothing like doing Annie. I can’t think of any show where I’ve worked with seven children and two dogs. There’s a little hesitation at first, because you don’t know how that’s going to work, but it actually brings a way more casual and comfortable feel.” Andrews is proud to be a part of the national tour of Annie, continuing her long career in the arts. “When I was a kid I just wanted to sing,” explains Andrews. “I took piano lessons, dance lessons, anything I could. When I got to high school, there was an opportunity for musicals. I didn’t care about the acting but I loved the music. I realized that I loved being on stage and adding all these other elements to the show.” Andrews brings her own flair to the stage in the role of Miss Hannigan, who runs the orphanage. “My character runs the orphanage but she’s not really into this job and doesn’t particularly like or work well with children. But she’s there because she has to be. Think of her as the Captain Hook to the orphans lost boys.” Annie is a show welcome to all ages, featuring many children in the cast as well. Issie Swickle, who plays the show’s lead role, is a nine-year old actress from Davie, FL, making her tour debut. “What makes this show so special for one is that the girl playing Annie is nine years old, which is much younger than usual,” says Andrews. “She has a killer voice, which is beautiful. She’s whip smart and so funny; she’s so much fun to be on stage with.” While there have been many different takes on the classic story, the intention was to bring the iconic story back to its original Annie roots. All of the original creators have been involved, ensuring that the original story’s themes still holds true. “It’s a love story and it’s about optimism,” says Andrews. “It’s not a love story in the romantic sense; it’s about love of family and a father and her daughter, along with her dog. Those are really important relationships at a young age. I think that’s why the show has been so successful for so long.” Annie will be featured at the Wharton Center Tuesday, Dec. 16 through Sunday, Dec. 21. Tickets for Annie are available at whartoncenter.com.
Kalynne McIntyre is the Digital Branding Specialist at M3 Group in downtown Lansing. She loves action movies, puppies and all things Italian.