ERCT’s Annie will be cute tale and more

Annie, played here by Shelly Swenson, goes out on the town with Mr. Warbucks (Kevin Hunter) and his assistant xxxx (Jennifer Piehl). (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Annie, played here by Shelly Swenson, goes out on the town with Mr. Warbucks (Kevin Hunter) and his assistant Grace (Jennifer Piehl). (Photo by Bruce Strand)

 

by Rachel Finkbeiner, Special to the Star News

Elk River Community Theater will soon be heading down “Easy Street” with their production of “Annie,” opening Friday, July 26, at Zabee Theatre at Elk River High School.

The play is great for all ages, but means even more to director Eileen Anderson.

“It is the greatest family show ever, but people get a little wrong impression,” she said. “Everyone thinks this is a little piece of fluff with cute kids in it. And it isn’t that. It’s a show about homelessness and the haves and the have nots.”

There's lots of orphans in Annie. Here they cap off a song and dance. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

There’s lots of orphans in Annie. Here they cap off a song and dance. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

 

Anderson specifically decided to correlate with issues she sees in society today.

“In Sherburne County, we are still just off the charts with homelessness and people losing housing,” she said.

Her own “director’s touch” is the stark contrast she’s created in the set and costumes, separating the orphanage and Hooverville from the Warbucks mansion.

Annie here is played by Sierra Sommerfeldt, has seen the movie repeatedly. (Photo by Rachel Finkbeiner)

Annie here is played by Sierra Sommerfeldt, has seen the movie repeatedly. (Photo by Rachel Finkbeiner)

The play has about 80 cast members, with two groups of the orphans and two 11-year-old Annie’s switching off in the seven performances over two weeks.

For one Annie, Sierra Sommerfeldt, this is one role she’s always wanted to play.

“I fell in love with the movie “Annie.” I would watch it seven times a day,” Sommerfeldt said.

Shadow, an amiable 9-year-old pooch, landed the role of Sandy.

Shadow, an amiable 9-year-old pooch, landed the role of Sandy.

The parts she likes best are singing “Maybe” and dancing to “It’s a Hard Knock Life.”

The Blaine sixth-grader-to-be said this is her ninth or 10th play. She also likes to play softball and go to amusement parks.

The other Annie is Shelby Swenson, who attends Salk Middle School.

Mr. Warbucks is played by Kevin Hunter, broadcaster of the Business Forum show. Star News will have more on “Annie” and its next Saturday in the middle weekend of its run.

Audience members can expect to see some fun costumes, stellar music and a real dog. After a tough try out, Shadow, part golden retriever, part Burmese mountain dog, nine years old, landed the role of Sandy. This will be his first role on stage. According to his owner, he’s excited, but when he’s offstage, he mainly enjoys sleeping.

Rehearsals began in April for all the orphan girls, with other cast members beginning practice in May.

“We worked really hard on it. It’s a great show and it’s fun,” said Avery Schirmers.

“ANNIE”
At Zabee Theatre,  Elk River High School

Friday, July 26, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 27, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 28, 3 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 1, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 2, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 3, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 4, 3 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased on erct.org. Discount cards available at Sherburne County Fair

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