Musicals At Richter Season Continues With 'Annie'
DANBURY - Musicals at Richter (MAR) will continue its 34th season as the longest-running outdoor theater in Connecticut with Martin Charnin and Charles Strouse's ebullient musical Annie, July 27 through August 11.
Staged on the grounds of Richter Arts Center, performances will take place outdoors under the stars Friday through Sunday evenings at 8 pm, with additional specially discounted performances on Thursdays, August 2 and 9.
A perennial audience and family favorite, this 1977 Broadway hit based on the popular comic strip heroine originally garnered seven Tony Awards, along with a Theatre World Award for Andrea McArdle in the title role.
Set in 1933 Depression-era America, Annie follows a spunky young orphan as she searches for her parents, a journey which takes her from a dreary New York City orphanage to an opulent, loving new home with billionaire Oliver Warbucks and his staff. Along the way, she foils an evil plot hatched by embattled orphanage director Miss Hannigan, helps President Franklin Roosevelt put the finishing touches on the New Deal, and leaves everyone she meets "fully dressed" with a smile and an optimistic outlook.
Martin Charnin and Charles Strouse's tuneful score includes "Tomorrow," "It's the Hard Knock Life," "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile," "NYC," "Easy Street," "I Don't Need Anything But You," "Little Girls," and "Something Was Missing."
Directed and choreographed by founding MAR Artistic Director Bradford Blake, the show features a cast of talented performers, including many newcomers and MAR veterans. Samantha Noel Treppeda, from Poughquag, N.Y., has been cast in the title role. Walter Cramer of Danbury will portray wealthy industrialist Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks, and Claire Simard of Ridgefield is playing his efficient and kind-hearted secretary Grace Farrell.
Priscilla Squiers of Danbury is playing the beleaguered Miss Hannigan, joined by Robert Bria of Redding as her con artist brother Rooster and Lisa Dahlstrom of Fairfield as Rooster's girlfriend Lily St Regis.
Michael Wright of Newtown is featured as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Rob Mayette of Ridgefield is tackling a number of key ensemble roles, including radio host Bert Healy and Warbucks's dedicated butler Drake.
Joining Annie in the orphanage are Lilly Calipa (Danbury), Lara Cruzado (Bethel), Ciara Cuneo (Patterson, NY), Ainsley Dahlstrom (Fairfeld), Emma Lubbers (Mahopac, N.Y.), Sophie O'Hara (Norwalk), Abigail Rivas (Newtown), Amelie Simard (Ridgefield), Cadence Siriani (Carmel, N.Y.), and Ella Zamek (Wingdale, N.Y.).
Rounding out the cast in a number of diverse roles are Maddy Oldham and Daisy Stott (Brookfield); Jose Alves, Jane Mead, Arden Minor, and Viola Minor (Danbury); Maya Urquhart (Fairfield); Madison Bielmeier (New Milford); Will Armstrong (Old Greenwich); Anne Giroux (Ridgefield); Jennifer Wallace (Wilton). New York State residents in the company include: Michele Dugan (Brewster) Joshua Grill (Carmel); Rachael Sheldon and Donovan Koch (Millbrook); Emily Walsh (Poughkeepsie); and Brian Zamek (Wingdale).
Heading up the creative team, multitalented director and choreographer Bradford Blake has worked in regional theater for more than 30 years as a director, musical director, choreographer, composer, arranger, and designer. Most recently, he wrote and directed the popular holiday revue, Wreck the Halls, which played a second smash run at Ridgefield Theater Barn last December. He also directed MAR's critically acclaimed 2017 season opener, Into The Woods.
Mr Blake, who also designed the set, is joined by prolific musical director and composer Dan Koch. Tina Morrissette is serving as assistant choreographer and assistant to the director. Costume design is by MAR Artistic Director Lauren Nicole Sherwood. Will Armstrong serves as stage manager and Joyce Northrop is producer.
Following Annie, the 2018 Richter season will conclude with the Summer Youth Musical Theater Workshop student production of The Lion King, Jr, August 16-18. For complete details on Musicals at Richter's season and young people's offerings, visit musicalsatrichter.org.
Main stage musical performances are Friday through Sunday evenings at the Richter Arts Center, next to Richter Park Golf Course at 100 Aunt Hack Road in Danbury.
Tickets for Annie are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and students (with ID), and $15 for children 10 and under. For the additional Thursday performances on August 2 and 9, tickets are $20, $15, and $10, respectively. Group rates for all shows are available with advance reservation. Tickets may be purchased by calling 203-748-6873, by visiting musicalsatrichter.org, or at the door.
Grounds open at 7 for picnicking, with curtain at 8 pm. Guests are invited to bring chairs and blankets for lawn seating; a limited number of chairs are available free of charge by the concessions at the park. A soft drink/snack concession is also on site.
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