The musical “Annie” is a classic but one that has never been performed by the Okoboji Summer Theatre until now. It was well worth the wait!
The music, performers, set and costumes were top rate. It was a wonderful evening of live theatre.
Kudos to director/choreographer Bernard Monroe for guiding and encouraging the huge cast (24), six musicians and one dog to put everything they had into giving us a performance to remember.
Stephens College student Lauren Douglas portrayed Annie. She is so talented in both singing and acting. She didn’t even deviate from her role when the dog was uncooperative or trying to steal the show. She received a very enthusiastic standing ovation at the end and she deserved every bit of it.
Now about the dog … Mara Groom’s pet Otis played Sandy. He is a beautiful labradoodle and was adorable on stage. Nearly everyone wanted to take him home with them after the show.
Another standing ovation goes to Lili Javorka for her portrayal of Miss Hannigan. She was so good that I had to check the program to see if she was a professional actor or one of the students. She is a student and magnificent in this role. Her gift for comedy is superb.
The six little local girls who played the Annie’s orphan friends were awesome! They were Abby Scmidt, Addie Ascheri, Maggie McKim, Grace Birkland, Emma and Catherine Straus.
Rob Doyen was delightful as Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks. Grace Farrell was played very well by Erika Wilson.
Professional actor Courtney Crouse is no stranger to the OST stage. His antics as Rooster Hannigan were so funny and his side-kick Lily St. Regis was well played by Natalie Botkins. They made a great pair of shysters on stage.
Okoboji resident Jim Kennedy played President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and did it well. He even sang for us. He was a very believable FDR. Bravo!
The remainder of the large cast sang and danced very well together and added much to our enjoyment of the show.
The band was sequestered backstage, so we didn’t see them. However we heard how talented they were throughout the play. The members of the band were Tom Andes, Rod Shedenhelm, Greg and Julie Forney, Tim Schumacher and Ryan Middleton.
Sara Martin did an excellent job with the costumes from the 1930s. The clever set was designed by Ken George and functioned extremely well.
I am confident they will have the individual microphone cues handled by the second show. There were a lot of mics to cue in quickly.
“Annie” was so great. I feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t already have their ticket reserved. There are so few left, even with an added Friday afternoon matinee. This musical is one you won’t want to miss.