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‘Annie’ shines through clouds

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Published: Thu, December 13, 2018 @ 12:05 a.m.

Salem Community Theatre

By Eric McCrea



No need to wait until tomorrow for the sun to come out: Salem Community Theatre has the classic hit musical “Annie” to chase away the snowy days.

This well-known family-friendly show follows young Annie, played by Anna Sophia Viccari, after she is selected to be a temporary visitor at the home of Oliver Warbucks (Eric Briggs.) Selected by Mr. Warbucks’ private secretary, Grace (Sarah Kinser), Annie quickly becomes loved by the entire staff of the palatial mansion.

Eventually, Oliver decides he needs Annie in his life permanently, but Annie still holds out hope that her parents will return for her. A national search with a sizable reward draws hundreds of people claiming to be Annie’s real parents, but the truth remains elusive.

An important factor in staging “Annie” is the number of young actors needed, and director Justin Steele found plenty of talented and cute kids to make the show a success. Finding talented adults proved to be more difficult.

Pacing and energy were troublesome for his cast throughout the night that was unfortunate. Voiceovers and sound cues felt inorganic and did nothing to help the show’s issues. However, a few standouts made the production entertaining.

Viccari was exceptional as the lead. She handled the challenging role like a professional, and she had a great voice for the part.

Tayler Reed was a good choice for Mrs. Hannigan. She was able to be terrifying, which helped her with her solo, “Little Girls.”

Briggs and Kinser had amazing voices, but their dialog was light on volume even with microphones on. Their on-stage chemistry helped tell the story however.

Numbers such as “It’s a Hard Knock Life” and “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile,” which featured the talented orphans were the best numbers in the show. The singing was well done, and energy was not an issue for these kids.

Darian Sharp showed she had impressive pipes with her featured part in the song “N.Y.C.”

Ryan Lamb and Daniel Gordiejew each played several roles and were both noteworthy, especially during the radio scene.

The set was well done, particularly the mansion, which featured a large staircase. Lighting designed by Barry Hinchliffe Jr. gave scenes great atmosphere.

Despite the show’s issues, it still made for a great time for younger audience members who are fans of the movie.

“Annie” can be seen at Salem Community Theatre, 490 E. State St., Salem, at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. For reservations, call 330-332-9688.

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