Annie the Musical coming to Broadway this fall is hosting a competition wherein the winners will have the opportunity to have a ‘talk-back’ with a representative of the official Annie crew/staff who will also be visiting the “winning” production of “Annie”.
Spokane Civic Theatre needs your help voting for us so we may have this amazing rep visit our theatre! The voting ends on June 15th with the winners being announced by June 18th. So give a click and give a vote on the Annie Broadway in my Hometown contest on Facebook.
You can can vote for Spokane Civic Theatre’s production of Annie every day and can leave a comment as to why our production ‘shines like the top of the Chrysler building’ even better!
Spokane Civic Theatre Random Trivia
Number of emails received per show:
What Spokane Civic Theatre inquiring minds want to know is how many Annie emails Tia is up to now with the show open two weeks? And what could be so important that you had to have that many emails?
And yes, I swiped this photo of Tia and Larry Wooley from her Facebook Page. =)
(Currently playing on the Spokane Civic Theatre Main Stage).
What was the most challenging aspect of directing Annie at Spokane Civic Theatre?
Yvonne AK Johnson: Musicals in general are challenging to direct due to the coordination of all the production aspects from music to choreography, scene changes to timing of sound and light cues. For Annie, Spokane Civic Theatre wanted to produce the best possible production regarding telling the story, technical aspects (set, costumes, lighting, music, sound) and true three dimensional characterizations.
Is there anything unique to share about this production of Annie that is different than the Spokane Civic Theatre production 28 years ago?
Yvonne AK Johnson: Annie grew up. Phedre Burney - Quimby who played Annie 28 years ago is playing Miss Hannigan now in this production. It’s a joy to see members of the community involved for their lifetime and her daughter, Piper is also in the show. Civic Theatre is a place that generations of families have been involved and it’s a part of what makes this journey special and unique.
Annie is set in the 1930s. How do you think audiences today can relate to the story and the characters?
Yvonne AK Johnson: History tends to repeat itself. The time setting of Annie is during the Great Depression. In the current state of our economy we are still in the Great Recession. Many of the lines of dialogue written in the show pertain still today with needing to get people back to work, the jobless rate and general state that people are feeling down on their luck and not very optimistic. The sun will come up tomorrow and we need to keep our chins up high regarding the future of our country!
What can you tell us about what went on behind the scenes of the Spokane Civic Theatre stage to put on Annie production?
Yvonne AK Johnson: Over 200 people were directly involved in this production including volunteer actors, backstage crew, orphan families, staff, board members, the dog trainer … you name it. It takes an entire community to bring to life a Civic production and we are grateful for the time, energy, support and enthusiasm of everyone involved and our generous patrons.
And now Sophia:
Aside from your own, who is your favorite character and why?
Miss Hannigan, because her character would be fun to play and you could really spice it up.
What will you take away from your Annie experience?
Getting to play ‘Annie’ because it has always been my dream part.
What do you love most about the character of “Annie”?
Her story. Her hopes of finding her parents and because she finds a family with Daddy Warbucks.
How special is this role to you?
Back in the very early 1980’s a touring production of “ANNIE” was coming to the Spokane Opera House. Prior to the show arriving my grandmother bought me the Broadway soundtrack which I practically wore out beforehand. My mother and grandmother took me to “ANNIE” when it finally arrived here in Spokane and it was at that performance that my love of the theatre was “born”. My grandmother has since passed away and to have this opportunity to portray this role in the show that I originally shared with her and that was the beginning of my theatrical journey is truly touching and so very dear to my heart.
You aren’t the typical “Daddy” Warbucks type (you have hair), how are you going to convince the audience that you fit the role?
As a 39 year old man with a head full of hair I certainly do not look like the iconic character of the comic strip at all. Yvonne and I spoke early on in rehearsals and decided to make “Daddy” our own, a very different looking version and a little different take on the character. I can’t erase what people are used to seeing in a Daddy Warbucks. What I can do is give the audience the best performance I’ve got and share with them our interpretation of this wonderful character.
Yvonne Johnson, Executive Artistic Director for Spokane Civic Theatre, gave us the details about the recent fun-filled overnighter at the theatre for the orphans in the up and coming production of Annie. With the help of family members and cast/crew, this sleepover was intended for the orphans to bond as friends, rehearse, and to make memories they’ll never forget.
The busy schedule included fittings for orphan costumes, a pizza dinner, a visit from Daddy Warbucks actor Mark Pleasant and rehearsals for “Hard Knock Life” and “Never Fully Dressed” with choreographer Michael Muzatko, who also plays Rooster in Annie. The orphans were also given tote bags to design as they wished to use for scripts, shoes, water bottles, etc. and the gifts didn’t stop there!
Deena Caruso, owner of Finders Keepers and mother of Annie actress Sophia Caruso gave individualized charm bracelets to each of the girls while Michael gave them each a NYC charm from the top of the Empire State building. Additionally, the Caruso family donated charms and beads to make matching necklaces for the orphans, a necklace for each cast/crew member, and more to be purchased at the shows with all proceeds to benefit the Academy Scholarship Fund.
After gift time they had ice cream sundaes and then a scavenger hunt that was designed by Spokane Civic Theatre interns so the girls were introduced to the different areas of the theatre that they will need to know in the coming weeks. With the prize of Spokane Civic Theatre swag, those orphans got competitive and ran around the building to collect signatures and complete their riddled tasks.
To conclude the evening, the girls wound down and watched “Puss and Boots” in the lobby with plenty of movie treats and popcorn. After the movie, everyone moved back to the stage to sleep… well, more like tell ghost stories until 3:00 AM.
In the morning, lead costume designer Jan Wanless and her husband Ken made a beautiful hot breakfast including waffles with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, sausages, and juice. They even made homemade cinnamon buns and coffee for the families at the morning showcase!
After cleaning up, packing and preparing the stage the orphans showcased the beginning of the show for families and cast members that came to show support. Everyone left thinking about this experience of a lifetime… and then went home for afternoon naps!
We’d like to thank the chaperones, all of whom were Civic staff and stage managers - they dedicated so much time, energy, support, and endurance!
Directed by Yvonne A.K. Johnson
Cast List (in order of appearance):
Molly - Marlena Mizzoni
Pepper - Kiersten Gasper
Duffy - Autumn Plucker
July - Aidan Walsh
Tessie - Kylie Nelson
Kate - Madison Mullins
Orphans - Gwendolyn Clark, Annika Johnson, Clara Patten
Annie Understudy - Quincy McFaul
Annie - Sophia Caruso
Miss Hannigan - Phedre Quimby
Bundles McCloskey - Adam Peterson
Sandy - Sandy
Grace - Andrea Dawson
Drake - Doug Dawson
Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks - Mark Pleasant
Star-to-be - Morgan Keene
Rooster - Michael J. Muzatko
Lily - Angela Pierson
Bert Healy - Adam Peterson
Boylan Sisters - Lauren Goldbloom, Morgan Keene, Faith Schnuetzner
Franklin D. Roosevelt - Mark Sims
Ensemble: Evan Achten, Brianna Cole, Spencer Cole, Doug Dawson, JoAnne Emery, Nancy Gasper, Lauren Goldbloom, Dan Griffith, Bailey Heppler, Jason Coleman-Heppler, Morgan Keene, LuRicka Kougl, Tannis Norton, Javis Lumalo Ongamo, Phoebe Oosterhuis, Adam Peterson, Piper Quimby, Ted Redman, Faith Schuetzner, Mark Sims, Vicki Sims, Kelsey Weddle, Marissa Weddle