Creek’s “Annie” premieres to hundreds

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Lisa Nhan, Managing Editor

It was a hard knock life for the cast and crew of Annie, as they spent many late nights and after school rehearsals preparing for Creek’s only musical of the year, but the work paid off as they performed for hundreds of people over the performances of January 23-24 and 29-31. According to the New York Times, Annie is performed on stage around 700 to 900 times a year, but there is no doubt that this year, Creek’s adaptation was one of the best due to the hard work by all those involved.

Annie, played by Izabelle Traslavina, is a spunky 11-year-old orphan who lives in an orphanage run by the bitter and cruel Miss Hannigan, portrayed by Zoie Ellis. Annie hopes one day to find her parents, who left her with a heart locket and note explaining that they’ll be back for her one day. However, her situation seems hopeless until she is picked to spend two weeks during Christmas with billionaire industrialist, Oliver Warbucks, played by Alec Barosh. Warbucks is a cold-hearted businessman who is plagued with worries of the Great Depression, however Annie’s lovable personality gets the best of him. Originally opened on Broadway in 1977, the Tony Award winning show has since become a classic with those of all ages.

Mr. Bradley Hewlett, theatre director, directed the musical. Mr. James Park, choir director, was the music director and his associate music director was Mr. Sean Stultz, assistant choir director. The technical director was Mr. Matthew Samson, technical theatre director, and the show was choreographer by Kara Thayer.

Izabelle Traslavina did a wonderful job of portraying the Annie many have come to grow up with and love. She gave off Annie’s bright demeanor and infectious happy that has made Annie such an iconic character. While she did not sport Annie’s famous red hair, she did not need it to prove that she could be just as charming and lovely as the Annie we all know. Traslavina truly has a voice made for Broadway and left me humming Tomorrow for many days afterwards.

Warbucks was played by Alec Barosh, and there truly was no one else who could have played the role. Barosh’s talented voice was highlighted in numbers such as Why Should I Change a Thing? and I Don’t Need Anything But You. Together with Traslavina, the two of them were able to recreate the loving relationship of Annie and Warbucks while adding their own adaptations to it.

Mia Carter’s Grace Farrell provided a great loving demeanor to counter Warbuck’s initial cold behavior. Carter’s portrayal gave Grace the warmth that made the faithful secretary a highlight of the performance.

Both of the choruses, adult and orphan, were filled with many gifted girls who gave Annie the heart-warming feeling it is known for. Madelyn Chidester’s Molly, Ryleigh Loser’s Pepper, Sarah Hart’s July and Hannah Gellman’s Duffy all gave their orphan roles something of their own. For a group of teenage girls, they all accomplished the roles of “rotten orphans.”

However, Zoie Ellis’ portrayal of Miss Hannigan was perhaps my favorite part of the whole show. From her staggered hung-over walk to her pick lines on the many unwilling men, Ellis absolutely nailed the part. There was no question that Ellis was Miss Hannigan. She was able to turn single old bitter woman into a character you couldn’t help but love. Perhaps it’s because on the inside I am a bitter old woman, but judging from the laughs in the audience, I wasn’t the only who found Miss Hannigan to be a wonderful dose of comic relief.

In addition, Miss Hannigan’s brother Rooster, played by Christian Campbell, and Rooster’s girlfriend, Lily, played by Madi Kiekel, kept the laughs coming. All three of them, armed with jazz hands, in Easy Street was some of the best comedic acting from students I’ve seen yet. Kiekel’s loud New Jersey accent and bold dance moves were spot on.

Another part of the play that kept me laughing was Jackson Majewski’s portrayal of FDR. I have no idea where Majewski came with his FDR voice, but I truly wish that everyone would sound like that. There is truly nothing like watching a President in a wheelchair shout, “The gig is up!”

Noah Massey, playing the part of Drake the butler, also provided the audience with a few laughs, especially during the intermission’s poster auction.

It would also be wrong of me not to acknowledge the members of the band who provided live music during the whole performance. It certainly added more much more to the show than a recording ever could.

While I was initially apprehensive about choice of Annie, the cast and crew of the show provided that with all the talent and hard work they have, they were able to pull it all off. Parts of the set were a bit lacking, but it was easily made up for by the overall performance. It represented what the Clear Creek Fine Arts department has to offer with all the different groups working together. It is truly a shame that Creek will not being having another musical next year, but it is certain that the talent of these departments will continue to grow in the many days to come.