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Posted by: Kim_Hamilton on 06/27/2011 10:43 AM Updated by: Kim_Hamilton on 06/27/2011 10:48 AM
Expires: 01/01/2016 12:00 AM

Loveable Rags-To Riches Comedy Takes a Walk on the Sunny Side!

Annie, the beloved musical comedy about a gutsy little girl who never gives up, opens Friday, July 8 at the Fallon House Theatre in Columbia State Historic Park and runs July 8th through September 4th. Thursday and Friday evening performances begin at 7, Saturday evening shows begin at 8 and Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees begin at 2. “Talk backs” – discussions with the director and performers – are on Thursday evening, July 21 immediately following the performance.....

It’s a ‘Hard Knocked Life” for the orphans in Sierra Rep’s musical Annie. Playing the orphans as (left to right): Devan Avizenis as Molly, Anastacia (Yaya) Munoz as Kate, Melody Britt as Duffy, Devon Hayakawa as Annie, Krysta May as July, Kaitlyn Miller as Pepper, and Gillian Garrett as Tessie.

Photo credit: Rich Miller Photography

America’s favorite orphan leads an all-star cast of misfits, millionaires and a trio of hilarious Depression Era low lifes, when Sierra Rep brings Broadway’s big, warm-hearted blockbuster to life this summer.
Annie, the beloved musical comedy about a gutsy little girl who never gives up, will play at the Fallon House Theatre in Columbia July 8 through September 4.

Don’t miss the fun!

The well-known rags-to-riches story, packed with great songs and loveable characters, has been a Broadway staple for more than 30 years, and SRT Director Scott Viets has a fantastic cast ready to deliver great family entertainment.

Led by 14-year-old powerhouse Devon Hayakawa in the title role, the show also features SRT favorites Julie Ludlum and John C. Brown as the seedy villains Miss Hannigan and her brother, Rooster, Daraj Maxfield as Daddy Warbucks, and a whole crew of spunky young orphans.

Set in New York City at the height of the Depression, Viets said Annie has an irresistible charm and nostalgic tone that continue to connect with audiences of all ages. Songs like “Tomorrow,” “Hard Knock Life,” Easy Street,” and “Maybe” showcase the characters and the era.

“This is a show from the Golden Age of musicals,” Viets said, “and it’s held up so well. It’s got everything – great music, great writing, characters you really care about, villains you love to hate. It appeals to all ages – and we all need this kind of show!”

Creators Martin Charnin, Charles Strouse and Thomas Meehan based the show loosely on the comic strip “Little Orphan Annie,” and gave it a vaudeville flavor with jitterbugs, a dash of soft shoe, some beautiful ballads and big show tunes.

“It’s warm-hearted fun for the whole family,” Viets said. “And after 35 years, it’s more popular than ever. There are now two or even three generations that have grown up with this show.”

We first meet Annie and her pals in a grungy New York orphanage. It’s 1932, and their boney warden, Miss Hannigan, has them scrubbing floors in the middle of the night while she nips gin and snarls. It’s a rotten life, but Annie has a dream that keeps her going: one day, she’ll find the parents who left her with nothing but a note and half a locket.

She runs away for the umpteenth time, meets a certain sandy-colored mutt out on the street, and gets collared by the cops who ship her right back to Hannigan. It would seem hopeless to anyone but Annie, and sure enough, fate steps in the door. Grace, the elegant private secretary to millionaire Oliver Warbucks, shows up looking for an orphan to bring home for the holidays. She picks Annie, and the wheels start to turn.
Warbucks is only looking to polish his public image, but his heart starts to melt as soon as he meets Annie. He’s an orphan himself, he tells Annie, and never realized how empty his huge home had been. He wants to adopt her, but promises to do everything in his power to find her parents first.

Meanwhile, back at the orphanage, Miss Hannigan and her sleazy brother, Rooster, start cooking up a scheme to cash in on Annie’s sudden luck.

Viets said the story has more to it than people might expect. The bleak backdrop is no joke, Annie’s optimism is genuine, and both she and Warbucks have such heart. Hers is wide open and his needs to soften up some, but their connection is real and we see how much they have at stake.

Viets said he’s thrilled with the team working on the show.

“This is a dream cast,” he said. “I’m really excited.”

Hayakawa, Viets said, has everything it takes for a very demanding part – a big voice, great acting skills and genuine warmth and intelligence.
“She already has a great resume,” Viets added, noting her leading roles in several shows in the Sacramento region. “She can really hold her own with all of these top-notch professionals – I’m thrilled!”

Joining Ludlum and Brown as the boozy villains is Michelle Foletta (young Tammy Wynette in SRT’s Stand By Your Man) as Rooster’s sticky-fingered girlfriend, Lilly St. Regis.

And in the Warbucks household, Courtney Glass (Betty in SRT’s 2008 White Christmas) is his secretary, Grace, Ron Randall (Damn Yankees, Big River) is his buddy FDR and Doug Kestor is the butler, Drake.
The orphans are played by Devon Avizenis, Melody Britt, Gillian Garrett, Krysta May, Kaitlyn Miller and Anastacia “Yaya” Munoz, plus understudy Jordan Hayakawa.

Completing the ensemble are Peter Leibold, Kaylie Olson, Sarah Schori and Ashley Townsend.

SRT’s Mark Seiver is musical director and musical arrangement is by Sean Paxton.

Guest Scenic Designer Noble Dinse will create the sets that take Annie from her dingy orphanage and streets of New York to Warbuck’s mansion.

Guest Costume Designer Vanessa Leuck is creating the vintage Depression-era clothing, spanning from Hooverville slums to high society.

SRT’s Christopher Van Tuyl is designing lights, Mercy DeHerrera is designing props and Doug Brennan is stage managing.

SRT’s production of Annie is presented with the help of corporate partners Blue Mountain Minerals, Golden State Cellular and Wheeler & Egger CPAs.

Annie opens Friday, July 8 and plays through September 4 at the Fallon House Theatre in Columbia. Evening performances begin Thursdays and Fridays at 7 and Saturdays at 8; matinees on Wednesday, Saturdays and Sundays begin at 2. Prices range from $26 to $32 depending on the day of the performance. “Talk backs” – discussions with the director and performers – are on Thursday evening, July 21 immediately following the performance.

For information or reservations, contact SRT’s box office at (209) 532-3120, or check the website at

WHERE: Historic Fallon House Theatre, 11175 Washington Street, Columbia

PRICES: Tickets are $26- $2 depending on the show day. (Rush Tickets are half of general admission price Thurs & Fri); seniors receive $2 off (except Wednesday); tickets for children 17 & under are $18. Students 18 & older with ID are $20 anytime.

BOX OFFICE: (209) 532-3120


About Sierra Repertory Theatre
SRT is a professional non-profit theater producing a year-round season of classic and contemporary plays at two locations — the SRT theater in East Sonora and the historic Fallon House Theatre in Columbia. The talented resident company and visiting guest artists include members of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers. High quality performances, production values and management have established Sierra Rep as a model for regional theater. Sierra Rep's 200-seat theater in East Sonora is intimate, attractive and comfortable; with excellent sight lines and acoustics, and no seat more than 10 rows from the stage. The Fallon House is a restored Gold Rush-era theater and inn located in Columbia State Historic Park. It seats 274. Both theaters are centrally heated and cooled and wheelchair accessible. The East Sonora Theater has an assistive listening system for hearing-impaired patrons.

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