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Lauren Weintraub Leads MSMT's ANNIE June 29-July 16

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Maine State Music Theatre (MSMT) continues its 53rd season with the classic musical ANNIE, playing June 29 - July 16 at the Pickard Theater in Brunswick. ANNIE stars the young Lauren Weintraub as well as MSMT alumni Charis Leos, Chuck Ragsdale, Lara Seibert, and newcomers Morgan Smith and David Girolmo. The orphans were selected locally from auditions held at MSMT back in March. Marc Robin will direct and choreograph the production.

Lauren Weintraub is making her MSMT debut as Annie, but she is no stranger to the world of professional theatre. Weintraub has played the role of Annie before and has starred in several other musicals including a National Touring Company production of CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG. Weintraub, a native of Sudbury, Massachusetts, is spending the next several weeks in Brunswick, ready to steal the hearts of Maine audiences.

Returning to MSMT this summer as Miss Hannigan, the surly orphanage owner, is Charis Leos, a favorite among MSMT regulars. Leos most recently appeared at MSMT last summer as the spunky Texas housewife, Louise in ALWAYS... PATSY CLINE and as Mama Morton in CHICAGO. This is Leos' 6th season performing in Brunswick. She also stars in MSMT's third summer production, the roller-disco comedy hit, XANADU.

Also returning to the MSMT stage in ANNIE is Chuck Ragsdale, playing Miss Hannigan's sleazy, outrageous brother, Rooster. Ragsdale starred as Prince Herbert in MSMT's 2010 production of SPAMALOT. He's been seen in recent MSMT productions as Freddy in DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS and as Leo Bloom in THE PRODUCERS. Ragsdale also appears in MSMT's upcoming production of XANADU.

Lara Seibert, who has received great acclaimed for her role in MSMT's current production of THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES is on stage again in ANNIE as Grace Farrell, Oliver Warbucks' loving secretary. Seibert is returning to MSMT for her second season, previously starring as the bride-to-be in MSMT's 2009 production of THE DROWSY CHAPERONE. Also, returning to the stage after her first appearance at MSMT in THE MAVELOUS WONDERETTES is Morgan Smith who appears as Lily, Rooster Hannigan's floozy girlfriend.

Making his MSMT debut is David Girolmo, portraying Oliver Warbucks. Girolmo has been featured on the daytime soap opera Guiding Light and is a regular performer at the Fulton Opera House where he recently starred as Judge Turpin in SWEENEY TODD.

Marc Robin, ANNIE's director, is the Artistic Director at the Fulton Opera House in Lancaster, PA and has also directed numerous musicals at many notable regional venues across the country including Marriot's Theatre in Lincolnshire, Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia and Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago. Robin has been working with MSMT for six summers now. He previously directed/choreographed MSMT shows: SPAMALOT, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, THE PRODUCERS, THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, and CATS.

Local young performers take the parts of the orphans on stage. The following are the band of hard-knock girls who sing and dance with Annie: Gina Pardi and Lynnea Harding from Falmouth, Katie Boston from Augusta, Sophie Calderwood and Amberly Shea from Brunswick, Alexandria Stevenson from Bath, Rachel Friedman from Portland, Emma Joanis from Windham, New Hampshire, and Stephanie Craven from South Hadley, Massachusetts. These young ladies were chosen from over ninety girls that auditioned for the musical back in March at the MSMT building in Brunswick. Each girl sang and danced a number from the show and read some of the lines from the script. Stephanie Craven also serves as an understudy for the role of Annie.

Taking the stage with Lauren Weintraub is Mikie, a male terrier mix as the mongrel dog Sandy. Mikie is a rescue dog trained by William Berlonli. Berloni believes in rescuing dogs and saving them from a worse life, or no life at all. Berloni and his handlers have provided animals of all species and sizes, found in shelters, humane societies or rescue leagues, for Broadway, off-Broadway, national tours, regional theatres, and other special events.

Rehearsals for ANNIE began on Saturday, June 11th. ANNIE tells the classic tale of an orphan girl who finds a family in Grace Farrell and Oliver Warbucks. Challenges stand in her way through orphanage owner Miss Hannigan, her brother Rooster, and his girlfriend Lily. ANNIE is a joyful musical comedy set during The Great Depression. Annie is an optimistic orphan who looks beyond the gloom and politics of the times and is able to see better times ahead. ANNIE features familiar tunes like "It's a Hard Knock Life," "Tomorrow," "Maybe," and "Easy Street."

Tickets to see ANNIE are on sale now. Interested parties can contact the MSMT box office at (207) 725-8769, visit the box office window in person at The Pickard Theater or purchase online at www.msmt.org. The show previews on June 29th and runs until July 16th. Matinees are at 2 p.m. and evening shows are at 7:30 p.m. For specific dates and availability, please contact the box office or visit the website. The Pickard Theater is located at 1 Bath Road in Brunswick, on the campus of Bowdoin College.


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