Nov. 27-Dec. 13
Fri.-Sat. at 7:30pm, Sat. & Sun. matinees at 3pm
Iao Theater, N. Market St., Wailuku
242-6969 or www.mauionstage.com
I don’t think Little Orphan Annie and I would get along. People with her kind of optimism and unwavering belief in the innate goodness of humanity have always unnerved me. It’s not that I’m a pessimist; I consider myself a realist. My glass isn’t half empty—it’s in a cold, dark room curled up in the fetal position. If it’s true that “you’re never fully dressed without a smile,” then I go out naked a lot.
But maybe in this hard knock life, a little Annie is what we need. And Maui OnStage and the Maui Academy of Performing Arts are here to give it to us. Of course, part of the play’s charm is its location. Something about the Historic Iao Theater tells you, “I think I’m gonna like it here.”
Just in case you’re unclear as to the plot of Annie, it’s a Depression-era (not to be confused with recession-era) story set in New York, in which an orphan, that’d be Annie, sets out to find her real parents and escape an oppressive orphanage. Along the way, she finds a dog she names Sandy and is welcomed into the Warbucks’ mansion. Devious scheming, comical mishaps and lots of talented singing by adults and children ensue. By the end of the play, some musically inclined homeless people would “like to thank Herbert Hoover,” greedy plots are foiled, pasts are revealed and a certain orphan is adopted. The tale is so joyous, it’ll melt even the iciest heart.
The title role will be played by Seabury Hall freshman Tyler Charbonneau, who will don Annie’s signature red hair over her own blonde ‘do. While their hair colors differ, it’s obvious Tyler shares Annie’s spunk and drive. Baritone Bob Willis will play the booming Daddy Warbucks. Miss Hannigan, the luscious lush who loves alcohol as much as she hates children, will be played by soprano Diedre Tegarden. In addition, orphans were added to the story, so more little girls could be involved in the play. Brian Swasey, who is actually from N.Y.C., directs and choreographs, while Daddy War—I mean, Bob Willis does musical direction. Set design is by Caro Walker, costumes by Kathleen Schulz and lighting design is orchestrated by Mark Collmer.
If you think “something is missing” from this line-up, never fear, I didn’t forget Sandy. This year, Sandy will be played by Walter J. Dog of Wailuku.
If you need to give out presents or a “New Deal for Christmas,” tickets to Annie are available at the Maui Onstage Box Office, online at mauionstage.com and at If the Shoe Fits and Lava Java.
Tickets to the two Saturday matinees (December 5 and 12) will be discounted if you bring a donation of two cans of food for the Maui Food Bank. That way, not only will you get to watch an awesome show on the cheap, you’ll also be helping the community. Because in a world filled with Miss Hannigans, Roosters and Lilys, we all need a little more Orphan Annie in the world, if only to make us smile and let us believe that maybe you’ll soon be set on easy street and that the sun will, indeed, come out tomorrow.