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Leapin' Lizards! ANNIE Come to New Jersey January 25 - February 2


Leapin' Lizards! Just weeks after the Tony Award winning production closes on Broadway, NJACT Perry Award winning ShowKids Invitational Theatre (SKIT) brings beloved Annie to Jersey audiences. Annie is being presented on Saturday, January 25, at 7:30pm; Sunday, January 26, at 2:00pm; Friday, January 31, at 7:30pm; Saturday, February 1, at 2:00pm and 7:30pm; and Sunday, February 2, at 2:00pm. All six professional-quality performances will take place in the Voorhees High School Auditorium, Route 513, Lebanon Township. Tickets are still below $20, even for center orchestra seats, and can be purchased directly at or by calling the SKIT ticket line at (908) 638-5959.

The popular comic strip heroine, Annie, continues to command center stage in one of the world's best-loved musicals as Perry Award-winning ShowKids Invitational Theatre (SKIT) opens its 27th season with a new production of Annie.

"Everyone's favorite little orphan has a huge new audience, thanks to the successful Broadway revival," says Carolyn B. Newman, SKIT's director and producer since its inception in 1986, "and with the timeless story of a young girl filled with hope, optimism, and the belief that things will be better, it is no surprise everybody still loves Annie. SKIT audiences will especially love the singing and dancing of our talented cast presenting this show. Memorable songs, laughs and mischief provide a wonderful day out for all family members, and a special event to look forward to...tomorrow!"

Making this SKIT show even more exceptional is the special guest choreographer from New York who has been working with the Annie cast for the past couple months. Ashley Eichbauer Newman, a New York University graduate with degrees in Theatre and History, was a semi-finalist who was flown to Las Vegas during the third season of the FOX-TV show So You Think You Can Dance. She is a member of the NYU faculty and lives in New York City where she teaches, choreographs, and judges dance.

"We are so fortunate to have Ashley working with these gifted young performers; her talent and enthusiasm is a valuable asset to our organization. The children look up to her because she is a young, professional dancer, and the parents admire the awe and respect their children have toward Ashley," Mrs. Newman points out.
Ashley's stage credits include West Side Story, Grease, Guys and Dolls (NJ's PaperMill Playhouse), Tommy, and Carousel. In addition, her other experiences include dancing with 98 Degrees and 'N Sync at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, being a dance master at Busch Gardens, and performing with Neil Goldberg's Cirque. She recently served as the Assistant Artistic Director to Chase Brock (choreographer of SpiderMan) and of the renowned professional Dance Company, The Chase Brock Experience. Ashley will be bringing in a professional dancer from Broadway's Annie, Ryan VanDenBoom, to work with the cast and teach a Master Dance Class.

This program is made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, through the funds administered by the Hunterdon County Cultural & Heritage Commission.

In addition to Annie, SKIT is also preparing for the company's spring production of Shrek, The Musical, scheduled for April 26 - May 4. Shrek, The Musical, based on the Oscar winning DreamWorks film that started it all, brings the hilarious story of everyone's favorite ogre to dazzling new life on the stage. Tickets are on sale now! And SKIT will be hosting its annual pre-show complimentary Senior Citizens brunch on Sunday, April 27 prior to the matinee performance.

The lead role of Annie is played by Brooke Wachenheim, 13, of Annandale, and Allisa Conover, 11, of East Amwell Township. Brooke has been performing with SKIT for 7 years, where past roles include Gladys in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and most recently Slightly Soiled in Peter Pan. An 8th grader at the Clinton Township Middle School, Brooke serves on both the Relay for Life organizing committee and Student Council, and sings with the 8th grade chorus, Camerata Singers and the CTMS Rock Band. She also plays softball and soccer when she's not singing.
A sixth grader at East Amwell Township School, Allisa has been performing with SKIT since she was five-years-old and is thrilled to be cast in the role of her dreams as Annie. Past favorite roles include Jane in Peter Pan and Molly in Annie, Jr. When not performing, Allisa also enjoys figure skating, playing the violin, singing, dancing and being a Cadette Girl Scout.
Miss Hannigan is played by Katherine Reese, 17, of Clinton Township. Grace Farrell is played by Megan Lako, 16, of Glen Gardner. Rooster Hannigan is played by Ian Mehl, 18, of Califon. Lily St. Regis is played by Moira Brennan, 16, of Lebanon, and Haley Pellis, 17, of High Bridge. Oliver Warbucks is played by Tom Newman of High Bridge.
Orphans are played by Emma Nasto, 7, of Mount Laurel; Mia Parker, 9, of Clinton Township; Natalie Mehl, 13, of Califon; Sydney Kozakis, 14, of Lebanon; Haley Marra, 13, of Clinton Township; Marilena Parker, 13, of Clinton Township; Bella Hanley, 13, of Lebanon Township; Leanna Schultz, 13, of Lebanon; Kaylyn Feeley, 12, of Clinton Township; Katie Gallagher, 12, of Stewartsville; Alyssa Nolan, 12, of Clinton; Sana Sarker, 11, of Annandale; Josie Whitmore, 11, of Lebanon Township; Helena Chiappa, 16, of Madison; Kaitlyn Verhoest, 10, of Lebanon; Mia Ranallo, 12, of Lebanon Township; Charlotte Ruffine,10, of Tewksbury; and Lauren Tabor, 13, of Lebanon Township.
Servants and other cast members are played by Justin Lopez, 13, of Clinton Township; Sam Hostler, 11, of Glen Gardner; Jared Parker, 14, of Clinton Township; Grace Postiglione, 14, of Stewartsville; Gianna Castaldo, 15, of Flemington; Sara Alicea, 13, of Glen Gardner; Avery Stoker, 14, of Clinton; Hannah Mehl, 16, of Califon; Ashley Gallagher, 15, of Stewartsville; Samantha Brynildsen, 15, of Lebanon Township; Fawn Bartok, 16, of Glen Gardner; Alyssa vanVeldhuisen, 14, of Flemington; Jack Gallagher, 8, of Stewartsville; and Andrew Ranallo, 10, of Lebanon Township.

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