'Annie' opens 4-week holiday production at Playhouse Merced

rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.comNovember 15, 2012 

— Audiences in Merced will be treated to classic sing-along hits like "Hard Knock Life," "Tomorrow" and "Easy Street" when the beloved musical "Annie" opens at Playhouse Merced's mainstage Nov. 23.

"You have the positive spirit of a little girl named Annie and there's something quite touching about that," said Jim Kocher, director of communications at Playhouse Merced.

"The message is that no matter how hard things get, the sun will come out tomorrow. You just got to hang on until tomorrow," Kocher said.

The Tony Award-winning musical follows the adventures of a lovable orphan in the 1930s as she yearns to leave the Municipal Girls Orphanage and the overbearing supervisor, Miss Hannigan.

Annie manages to escape only to be discovered by billionaire Oliver Warbucks, who is charmed by her sunny disposition.

Based on "Little Orphan Annie" the long running comic strip, "Annie" was a huge hit on Broadway when it opened in 1977, running for six years.

Playhouse Merced's production is the holiday musical for the 2012-2103 season and is directed and choreographed by Noelle Chandler, musically directed by Joel Scott Shade.

A supporting cast of more than 25 actors, singers and dancers will perform, including Merced youngster Bethany Lawrence as Annie and Central Valley actors Valiant Reyes as Oliver Warbucks and Liz Phillips as Miss Hannigan.

"Annie" opens Nov. 23 and plays four weekends through Dec. 16. Tickets are on sale now for Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets prices are: adults, $20; seniors, $19; students, $10; children, $8. Tickets can be purchased by calling (209) 725-8587, or going to the box office at 452 W. Main St. in downtown Merced, Tuesday through Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m.

This show is rated A -- acceptable for all ages

Reporter Ramona Giwargis can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.com.

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