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Cappies: The sun came out at Northwest's 'Annie'

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 27, 2012 - Engaging the audience with upbeat dance numbers and catchy songs, Northwest High School proved the sun will come out tomorrow. In 1933, little orphan Annie and her friends at the orphanage long for family and a place they can call home. Having the opportunity to spend two weeks with billionaire Oliver Warbucks, Annie brings happiness and change to the lives of Warbucks and his assistant Grace. With the cool lighting cues, spirited cast and touching story, “Annie”  made for a lovely evening at Northwest.

Based on the popular comic strip, “Annie” ran for nearly six years on Broadway and has on numerous national tours and had productions in many countries. “Annie” has won a great deal of awards, including the Tony award for best musical in 1977. In this heartfelt story, young Annie teaches the importance of positivity and perseverance. “Annie” is a timeless story that the audience will remember long after the lights go down.

The talented cast of Northwest never failed to bring energy and heart to the performance. Casey Richards (Annie) shone as the innocent, caring young orphan longing for a family. Riley Price (Miss Hannigan) entertained the audience with her portrayal of the bitter yet quirky lady running the orphanage. Matt Arndt (Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks) stood out with his unique characterizations and wonderful voice. It was a pleasure to watch the endearing father-daughter relationship develop between Warbucks and Annie. Briana Tomlinson (Grace) engaged the crowd with her lovely vocals and heartfelt personality.

Brandon Janssen (Rooster) gave an especially notable performance as Miss Hannigan’s brother who is up to no good.  He and Emily Reiter (Lily St. Regis) were a fun duo, especially when joined by Miss Hannigan during the number “Easy Street.”  Nick Hogue (Franklin D. Roosevelt) gave an honest performance that was a delight to watch.

The costumes fit the time period and setting perfectly. The lighting cues added to the mood of the scenes, especially the dazzling lit-up snowflakes dancing around the room during “N.Y.C.”  Also notable about this scene were the jazzy Broadway sign and New York-style bright red telephone booth.

Each cast member brought energy to the production, and it was evident that the cast was having a great time delivering a wonderful performance. An especially memorable song was “Hard Knock Life.” The choreography added to the spunky number. Although diction and projection could have been improved at times, the cast definitely overshadowed this with enthusiasm and liveliness.

Northwest High School succeeded in delivering a crowd-pleasing, exciting performance of "Annie." The dynamic cast showed that “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile!”

Olivia Ellis is a student at Nerinx Hall High School.