ANNIE Returns to the Cumberland County Playhouse Mainstage Tomorrow

ANNIE Returns to the Cumberland County Playhouse Mainstage Tomorrow
Tori Smith and Kyra Crosby .
- photo by Sam Hahn.

Annie - the big-hearted Broadway musical about the comic strip heroine in search of her long-lost parents - opens Saturday, February 3, as the annual youth/volunteer production at Crossville's Cumberland County Playhouse.

"We're thrilled to bring this cherished, award-winning family musical back to the Playhouse," says CCP artistic director Britt Hancock, who co-directs the show with Jess Griffin. "Especially with this year's exuberant, energetic, and wonderfully talented cast."

Based on the popular comic strip by Harold Gray, Annie has become a worldwide phenomenon and was the winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The beloved book and score by Tony Award winners Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin features some of the best known musical theater tunes ever written, including the classic anthem of hope and optimism, "Tomorrow."

With equal measures of pluck and positivity, Little Orphan Annie - played by Kyra Crosby (Beauty and the Beast) and CCP newcomer Tori Smith, who alternate in the role - charms everyone's hearts despite a next-to-nothing start in 1930s New York City. She is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of a New York City orphanage that is run by the cruel, embittered Miss Hannigan - played by Kathryn Berman (Mary Poppins) and Angela Robbins (Seussical), who alternate in the role.

With the help of the other girls in the orphanage, Annie escapes to the wondrous world of NYC. In adventure after fun-filled adventure, Annie foils Miss Hannigan's evil machinations - and even befriends president Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Rich Nelson). She finds a new home and family in billionaire Oliver Warbucks (Bill Macchio, The Drowsy Chaperone), his personal secretary Grace Farrell (Stephanie Zarling), and a lovable mutt named Sandy (Benji Reynar Lockhart, in his Playhouse debut).

The cast also features Malachi Banegas as Rooster, Jesla Uribe and Kendall Walker as Tessie, Darbi Banegas and Rachel Lawrence as Lily, Sarah Hedrick and Sarah Norris as Molly, Sophie Burnett and Ava Whittaker as Pepper, Morgan Neal as Duffy, Ava Culpepper as July, and Maggie Cook and Madelyn Hedrick as Kate, with Brooklyn Davis, Calie Eaton, Lily Rigney, Sidney Warner, Anna Wiggins, and Brachae Young rounding out the talented orphan ensemble.

Annie runs through March 2. Also onstage at the Playhouse: Welcome Back to Ivy Gap, in the Adventure Theater through March 23.

Tiickets are available by calling (931) 484-5000 or by visiting www.ccplayhouse.com.

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From This Author Jeffrey Ellis

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