Annie Makes its Way to Minneapolis April 15

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Leapin' Lizards: Children's Theatre Company (CTC) is thrilled to announce the opening of the Tony Award-winning musical Annie on April 15, 2011. The single most-requested production among CTC patrons, Annie will make its debut - for the first time in CTC's 45-year history - under the direction of Peter Rothstein, artistic director for Theater Latté Da.

"It's wonderful to have Peter Rothstein direct Annie," says Peter Brosius, artistic director for CTC. "This is a huge, gorgeous spectacle of a production, and it's exciting to have Peter's energy and vision directing it. Annie will fill our stage and fill people's hearts with a wonderful story about survival, triumph and spirit."

Rothstein, who created "All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914" and has been named one of Minnesota's Artists of the Year by Star Tribune, Theater Artist of the Year by Lavender Magazine and Best Director in the Twin Cities by City Pages, returns to CTC, having previously brought a charming production of A Year With Frog and Toad and a high-energy production of Disney's High School Musical to our stage.

Rothstein's directing highlights also include Evita, Old Wicked Songs, Doubt and Passage of Dreams, and he is slated to direct CTC's 2011-2012 holiday production of The Wizard of Oz.

Partnering with Rothstein on this production is the 2007 Ivey Award-winning choreographer Michael Matthew Ferrell. Ferrell returns to CTC having choreographed fan favorites Babe, The Sheep-Pig, Disney's High School Musical, A Year with Frog and Toad and Fashion 47. Ferrell also worked on CTC's Theatre Arts Training productions of The Who's Tommy and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and has worked with Theater Latté Da, The Minnesota Opera, the Ordway Center for Performing Arts, Sesame Street and Disney World.

Also included in the Annie artistic team are Vicki Smith (scenic design), Victor Zupanc (music and sound design), Richard O. Hamson (costume design) and Paul Whitaker (lighting design).

Leading the cast is a veteran Twin Cities actor, making his CTC debut. Lee Mark Nelson, with credits On and Off-Broadway and countless productions in the Twin Cities, is playing Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks. A graduate of The Juilliard School, Nelson has performed in New York, Washington D.C. and at Yale Repertory Theatre as well as at Guthrie Theater, The Jungle Theater and Ten Thousand Things Theatre, here in the Twin Cities.

Teri Parker-Brown, last seen at CTC in 2006's Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, plays Grace Farrell. Parker-Brown has many regional theater credits to her name, including performances at CTC and most recently at Old Log Theater. Most relevant to Annie audiences is her extensive musical theater work, including Chanhassen Dinner Theatres as Belle in Beauty and the Beast and Meg in Brigadoon.

Angela Timberman, another prolific Twin Cities actress, returns to CTC to play Miss Hannigan, the disagreeable orphanage matron. Timberman has worked for Guthrie Theater, Park Square Theatre, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres and Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. CTC's Company members Gerald Drake and Dean Holt will play a myriad of comic roles. Autumn Ness will play Lily St. Regis, and Reed Sigmund will play Rooster.

To cast the role of Annie and her orphan friends, CTC held an open casting call at the Mall of America in October. Seven of the ten youth actors, including Annie, were cast following those auditions. CTC is thrilled to invite these talented new young people to the stage.

Playing the role of Annie are Megan Fischer and Shawnee Elliott. Both already have extensive musical theatre backgrounds. Fischer performed at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts as the understudy for the role of Susan Waverly in White Christmas, and Elliott hails from Denver, where she was nominated for a 2010 Denver Post Ovation Award in the "Best Younger Actor" category.

In addition, Panu Yang, who is studying traditional Chinese dance with Dao Lan Dance School, will make her professional theater debut as Molly. Regan Duffy, a fourth-grade student from Linwood, Minn., and a semi-finalist at the Minnesota State Fair Talent Show in 2009, will play Kate. And, Anna Moskowitz, who performed two seasons in The City Children's Nutcracker at the Historic State Theater, will play Duffy, while BranDon Brooks, who previously played the Grand Duke Wilfred in CTC's Dr. Seuss' The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins will make a return appearance.

Based on the 1920-1930s comic "Little Orphan Annie," Annie, the musical, opened on Broadway in 1977. Set in New York City in the midst of the Great Depression, the story about the young orphan who finds a father in the billionaire Oliver Warbucks is as well recognized for its hope and optimism as for its long list of musical titles-such as "Hard Knock Life" and "Tomorrow"-that theatre-loving children nationwide know by heart.

Annie will run from April 12 through June 12, 2011. Tickets range from $32-$46 for adults and $22-$31 for children (17 & under), students and seniors and are available by calling (612) 874-0400 or by visiting www.childrenstheatre.org.

Children's Theatre Company (CTC) is the first theatre for young people to win the coveted Tony® Award for Outstanding Regional Theater (2003). Founded in 1965, CTC serves more than 300,000 people annually and is one of the 20 largest theater companies in the nation. CTC is noted for defining worldwide standards for youth theatre with an innovative mix of classic tales, celebrated international productions and challenging new work.


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