The sun will come out tomorrow – Annie: the Musical
by Marion Van Driel
Audiences of all ages will delight in the upcoming full-length Broadway production of Annie: the Musical to run at Burnaby’s Michael Fox Theatre, February 1-16, presented by Align Entertainment. The story, inspired by cartoonist Harold Gray’s rendition of Little Orphan Annie in the mid 1920’s, appeals to all generations because its characters young and older – spunky 11-year-old Annie, cruel orphanage matron Miss Hannigan, and magnate Mr. Warburton.
The story is set against the backdrop of the economic depression of post World War I, juxtaposing bleak socio-economic conditions with the brightness and beauty of the main character. “Annie is a touching and timeless musical with a strong core message that money can’t buy you happiness,” says director and co-producer Chad Matchette. “Oliver Warbucks is the richest man in the country and yet his life is unfulfilled until he meets Annie. This delightful little girl reminds us about the power of love and inspires people to hold onto their dreams against all odds.”
With a mop of curly red hair, Annie’s spunk and optimism are infectious, even as she seeks the parents who left her on the steps of a New York orphanage as a baby. Times are as dire as her beginnings. And yet … the sun will come out tomorrow.
In the lead role is local Delta actor Camryn Macdonald (Veruca in Delta Youth Theatre’s Willy Wonka Jr.) who has played Annie in a shorter version. The 13-year-old started dance at the age of five, and says she has been singing around the house as long as she can remember. About four years ago, she heard about Delta Youth Theatre (DYT); after seeing one of their shows, she clearly remembers thinking, “I have to be in that.” After auditioning, she joined the theatre company, and came to realize this was, indeed, what she wanted to do. Macdonald is intrigued by this role. “I’ve always loved the Annie character since I was little . . . because she’s so tough and spunky,” the bright-eyed actor says. Auditioning with over 100 others, Macdonald’s initial goal was to be introduced and noticed by Align Entertainment. Clinching the part came as a very pleasant surprise to her.
It’s a good thing memorization comes easily to Macdonald. She began prepping for the role in July – with her vocal coach, choreographing the songs, and memorizing lines as soon as she received the script. It’s a lot, she admits, along with homework, continuing dance and voice lessons, and DYT. Although it’s not easy to find time to just ‘hang out’ with her friends, Macdonald says that there’s a running joke among them, “that they hope I’ll remember them when I’m famous,” she laughs. She credits her family for their strong support. Advice to other would-be stage artists? Expect rejection, and don’t quit auditioning. “It’s a tough business,” she says.
Working alongside Macdonald are a dozen talented young actors as orphans (and a canine sidekick not yet revealed) as well as Arne Larsen (Dom Claude Frollo in Secondary Characters’ The Hunchback of Notre Dame) as Oliver Warbucks. Erin Matchette (Mrs. Schwartz in Align’s A Christmas Story) will play Miss Hannigan, and Laura Cowan (Fairy Godmother in Theatre Under the Stars’ Cinderella) will be Grace Farrell, Warbucks’ assistant who first finds Annie. The production also includes a live 12-piece orchestra directed by Kevin Woo.
Tickets: alignentertaintickets or vtixonline.com