Thursday, Dec 08, 2016
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'Annie Warbucks' is new group's first production

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The cast of <i>Annie Warbucks</i> includes, from left, Hayley Reynolds, Chad Lowry, and Kelsey Sczesny.

lisa dutton / blade Enlarge

Orphan Productions is planning to make its debut in a big way: with a cast of 70.

The organization, formed earlier this year, will open its premiere production, Annie Warbucks, Thursday in the Maumee Indoor Theater

"We saw a real need for a quality children's theater troupe," said producer Jennifer Reynolds, whose daughter has been involved in theater programs for several years with different companies around Toledo.

"We discovered that there aren't that many productions that have children's roles," she said. Orphan Productions hopes to change that, starting with the sequel to Annie, which was written by the same team of Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse, and Martin Charnin.

In Annie Warbucks, which takes place in the 1940s, Daddy Warbuck thinks he officially has adopted Annie, but a visit from Commissioner Doyle of the children's welfare board disabuses him of the notion. Doyle tells Warbucks that he must have a wife, and he has 60 days to find one.

Doyle is really in cahoots with her daughter, Sheila Kelly, to marry Warbucks and gain access to his fortune. Annie learns of the plot, but she can't get Warbucks to see it, so she runs away.

In the process of getting to its happy ending, Annie Warbucks moves from Manhattan's high society to the poverty-stricken Tennessee Valley, to Franklin Delano Roosevelt's White House.

The role of Annie is shared by Lucy Anders (evenings of Nov. 5 and 6) and Hayley Reynolds (Thursday evening and Nov. 6 and 7 matinees). Chad Lowry plays Daddy Warbucks; Kelsey Sczesny is Grace Farrell, his secretary; Deb DeFine is Commissioner Doyle, and Inge Klopping is Sheila Kelly.

The main children's roles are also shared. Katie Momenee and Hannah Dickerson play Tessie, Maria Connelly and Julia Balzer are Molly, Erica Renzhofer and Estar Cohen are Peaches, Ashley Goodell and Jamie Luster play Pepper, and Anne Glaza and Gabi Shook are C.G.

Annie Warbucks is directed by Jane Williams, with Molly Durst as the assistant director. Jill Arterburn is the choreographer and Pam Martin the music director. Vocal music direction is by Micheal Anders, chairman of the music department at the University of Findlay. Along with Reynolds, Jackie Boney and Donna Cheung are the produers.

"It's a huge undertaking but very rewarding," Reynolds said. "Our cast comes from Bowling Green, Rossford, Waterville, Perrysburg, Sylvania, Maumee, and Monroe."

Future plans are to present at least two productions a year and perhaps to offer some summer workshops.

"Right now, we have to see where Annie Warbucks takes us as far as community response."

"Annie Warbucks" opens Thursday and runs through Nov. 7 in the Maumee Indoor Theater, 601 Conant St. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Nov. 6, with matinees at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 6 and 7. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, and $5 for children ages 12 and younger. Information: 419-891-2287.

John Murrell's wartime drama, Waiting for the Parade, continues through Sunday at Ohio Northern University in Ada.

The show centers around five Canadian woman who must learn how to cope with loneliness, fear, pain, and the small joys of life while their men are off fighting World War II.

Heading the production is guest director Mary-Anne Gifford, a graduate of the Australian National Institute of Dramatic Arts. The set designer is Ken Sharp of Chicago, where he's resident designer for Drury Lane Oakbrook Theater.

The cast includes Dana Ellison of Lewis Center, Ohio, Heather Green of Fredericktown, Ohio, Teresa McDonough of Brunswick, Ohio, Katy O'Leary of Galion, Ohio, and Heather Powell of Norwood, Ohio.

"Waiting for the Parade" is scheduled at 8 tonight, 2 and 8 p.m. tomorrow, and 3 p.m. Sunday in the ONU's Freed Center for the Performing Arts, Ada, Ohio. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and students. Information: 419-772-1900.

Oregon Community Theatre opens it fall season tonight with Jesus Christ Superstar.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice rock opera about the passion of Christ features a cast of more than 50 performers, headed by Clay High School senior Shawn Mylnek in the title role.

Other featured players are Mark Beck-Owen as Judas Iscariot, Ron Davis as Pontius Pilate, Melissa Noe as Mary Magdalene, Michael Schmitz as Herod, and Michael Searle as Caiaphas.

Denise Goldsby is the director.

"Jesus Christ Superstar" opens tonight in the auditorium of Fassett Middle School, 3025 Starr Ave., Oregon. Performances are 8 p.m. today, tomorrow, and Nov. 5 and 6. A 3 p.m. matinee is scheduled Nov. 7. Tickets, $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students, may be purchased at the Olde Tyme Barber Saloon, 1015 Navarre Ave or ordered by phone at 419-691-1398.

●The Bedford Community Players are presenting Honk through Sunday in the auditorium of Bedford High School, 8285 Jackman Rd., Temperance. The family-friendly musical retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's Ugly Duckling is scheduled at 8 p.m. today and tomorrow and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for seniors and students. Information: 734-850-1212.

●Something's Afoot opens Thursday in the Fort Findlay Playhouse, 300 West Sandusky St., Findlay, with other performances scheduled Nov. 5-7, 11-14, and 17-20. The production is a musical comedy based on the 1940s-style British drawing-room mysteries. All shows are at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 5 p.m. Nov. 7 and 14. Tickets are $15. Information: 419-422-4624.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at: ncherry@theblade.com

or 419-724-6130.

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