Shawnee Mission’s The Theatre in the Park brought out the cuteness on all cylinders when they produced “Annie Warbucks” for their summer 2015 season. The show was the next to last for the summer, family-friendly venue that closes with “Shrek-The Musical” that opens for a two weekend fun run on July 31.
“Annie Warbucks” picks up where the mega-Broadway hit ends. It’s Christmas Day, Annie and the orphans have just seen the wickedly-funny villain Miss Agatha Hannigan and her accomplices arrested and taken away. As “Annie Warbucks” begins, the problems for Annie and Oliver Warbucks begin to befall them and trap them in a system that promises to separate them–even though Warbucks has adopted Annie.
The script is not the strongest and the music is OK, but neither reach the heights that its predecessor accomplished. “Annie Warbucks” played Off-Broadway and never got its place on the Great White Way. The show set a record for Off-Broadway shows, but a series of events prevented it from every playing on Broadway, according to Wikipedia.
The show is fun, lively, and comes to life with outstanding performances by the leads of Daddy Warbucks, Grace Ferrall, Sheila Kelly, and Mrs. Doyle. Of course, the whole thing revolves around Broadway’s most famous lead character of Annie. Those actors gave the show drive, pace, laughs, and surprises. While all of those were strong in stage presence and delivery, the vocals of David Stelting as Warbucks was pivotal. The evil dynamic duo of Annette Cook and Beth Benedict made the villainesses fun to watch and brought the surprises. Courtney Koval’s character of Grace and her vocals propelled her part to one of interest. As for Annie, Devyn Trodson belted out the vocals with the best of them.
The sets were magnificent and made the show have a “Broadway feel” to them. The set changes and stage management were super well managed. The lighting was great, and special nods to to the sound team. The sound was super clear throughout, which is not always the case for outdoor venues. Costumes were very “right” for the 1930’s. The choreography allowed the characters to move and keep the show well paced.The orchestra and music direction added the final piece to make the show worthwhile.
The Creative Team for “Annie Warbucks” as furnished by Theatre in the Park: Chris McCoy, Director/Choreographer; Jan Lord, Vocal Director; Randy Schott, Conductor; Anna Torchia, Assistant Director/Dramaturge; Pandia Graves, Assistant Choreographer; Kristine Luthi, Stage Manager; Katie Blinn, Assistant Stage Manager; Michael James, Assistant Stage Manager; Nancy Griffin, Accompanist; Jennifer Birzer, Costume Coordinator; Tam Osgood, Props Coordinator; Michaela Stein, Scenic Designer.
The cast list for “Annie Warbucks” as furnished by Theatre in the Park is: David Stelting, Daddy Warbucks; Devyn Trodson, Annie; Delilah Pellow, Molly; Willa Hope Walberg, Tessie; Ella Graham, Pepper; Kristy Diggs, Peaches; Bridget Walsh, CG; Courtney Koval, Grace Farrell; John Edmonds, Drake; Annette Cook, Mrs. Doyle; Beth Benedict, Sheila Kelly; Valerie Dykes, Ella Patterson; Alvin Patterson; Matt Walberg, Waterhouse; Reed Uthe, FDR; Craig Boyd, Simon Whitehead; Steve Martin, Vanderburg; James Azeltine, Lillianthal; Rod Chapin, Price/Mr. Stanley; Debbie Blinn, Mrs. Pugh; Pam Sollars, Dr. Margaret Whittleb; Julie Fox, Miss Clark; Halley Sageng, Mary; Joy Richardson, Gladys; Megan Berning, Dance Kelly; Paul Harwerth, Dance Mr. Kelly; Adam Segura, Flecher; Orphans: Grace Fields, Julia Masterson, Josephine Pellow, Reece Walters, Emma Lord, Tess Sollars, Colette Worthington, Sophia Ortiz, Taylor Shierbeck, Katie Hulla, Faryn Clevenger, Annie Smith, Lauren Payne, Brenna Nelson, Jadyn Butterfield, Female Ensemble: Katy Ellis, Maddie Charles, Abigail Becker, Kelly Cady, Hannah Gentile, Andi Fredrickson, Bridget Angles, Lakin Allen, Ellen Welander, Savanna Worthington, Andrea Azeltine, Emma Cook, Cara Torchia, Male Ensemble: Brenden Rennick, Josh Wheeler, Zack Lerner, Martin Perez, Trevor Harr, Brendan Hulla, Richard Cassidy, Collin Rohach.
“Annie Warbucks” at Shawnee Mission Theatre in the Park