There’s something poetic about it: 10 years ago, Moorestown Theater Company (MTC) debuted with a production of the Broadway classic Annie; This year, MTC is closing out its 10th anniversary season with the sequel, Annie Warbucks.
“It’s a nice way to bookend the decade,” said producing artistic director Mark Morgan.
Contrary to the highly popular original—and despite the fact that the sequel was written by the same people who wrote Annie—Annie Warbucks never made it to Broadway, though it was a successful off-Broadway show, Morgan noted. “It was breaking records at theaters it was at.”
Because of its relatively obscure status to much of the theatergoing public, Morgan is referring to the show, which opens at 7 p.m. tonight at the Upper Elementary School, as a "Burlington County theater premiere."
Melissa Tucker, 15, who plays Grace Farrell, one of the play’s female leads, said she couldn’t understand why the show was considered so under the radar.
“It’s good music,” she said. “There’s good wit in this show.”
“I’ve never seen this done ever,” said Jack Morgan, who plays Daddy Warbucks in the show.
After some gentle encouragement from Morgan, his father, Jack shaved his head for the role.
“I figured, why not?” said Jack, who also explained that his grandmother lost her hair during a battle with cancer last year, which made the decision a little easier. “It definitely adds something different to (the show) … I don’t hate it.”
Morgan said that, much like they had to do with 42nd Street, the crew of Annie Warbucks had to play a little catch-up after losing several days to Hurricane Sandy.
“It’s not going to affect the quality of what the ticket buyer sees onstage,” he said, just the behind-the-scenes preparations.
Ironically, one of the characters in the show is Annie’s dog, Sandy. The role of Sandy is being played by Daisy, a golden retriever that belongs to the family of one of the show’s younger cast members.
In order to train the dog to behave onstage, Morgan said the crew paired the pooch exclusively with the actresses playing Annie (there are two casts—“Black” and “Gold”).
“We’ve worked it out where the Annies are sitting with the dog when they’re not onstage,” he said, adding that the girls have also been walking around with treats in their pockets if they need to get the dog to respond a certain way.
The show opens at 7 p.m. tonight at the Upper Elementary School, with additional performances at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday; 7 p.m. Friday. Dec. 7; 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9.
“It’s their show,” Morgan said as he watched the children rehearse. “There’s plenty of movies to go to, but there’s nothing like live theater … by kids, for kids.”
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased through the MTC website, as well as at the door.
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