South Coast Repertory Summer Players to Present ANNIE, Begin. 8/10

South Coast Repertory's Summer Players will present ANNIE, one of America's most beloved musicals, August 10-11 and 17-18 on the Julianne Argyros Stage. ANNIE will be directed by Theatre Conservatory Director Hisa Takakuwa, with music direction by Erin McNally.

Students in the production are from Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Niguel, Las Flores, Long Beach, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Rancho Santa Margarita, Riverside, San Clemente, Seal Beach, Silverado and Trabuco Canyon.

Takakuwa, who is always drawn to challenging shows for her Summer Players, says that the young acting students will be encouraged to become familiar with the period in which Annie is set. To lead them in researching depression-era America, the ensemble group will have the help of a dramaturg.

"This will be a first for the Summer Players," Takakuwa said. "We are thrilled that SCR Literary Assistant Andrew Knight will help the actors understand the context of the play and tie the 1930s to issues resulting from today's recession, including unemployment, homelessness and poverty."

In order to set a similar context for the audience, Takakuwa's production will include a prologue, delivered by the actors, that outlines similarities between the two historical periods.

Takakuwa stressed that in spite of the difficult times and the hardships Annie suffers, she remains resilient.

"The goal of our cast is for audience members to be caught up in Annie's optimism and know-as she does-that a new day will always dawn, bringing hope for the future," she said.

Summer Players are students in SCR's Kids and Teen Acting Program who have been chosen by audition after at least one year in the Theatre Conservatory. The 34 students-Takakuwa's biggest cast ever-will portray the memorableAnnie characters, most notably the little waif herself, who is abandoned on the steps of a miserable orphanage.

Other characters include the evil Miss Harrington, who runs the orphanage; the orphan girls, who help Annie escape; and those she meets in her search for family, including President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and members of his administration, Rooster and Lily (pretending to be her long-lost parents) and the billionaire Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks, who brings Annie into his own family.

There will be performances Saturday, Aug. 10 and 17, at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.; and Sunday, Aug. 11 and 18, at 1p.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets cost $12 for children, $15 for adults and may be purchased through the SCR Box Office at (714) 708-5555 or online at www.scr.org.


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