South Church Players are saying that their group’s production of the musical “Annie” has double the fun. Young actresses Anneliese Zeigenbein and Sarah Toubes-Marquis will play the title role on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Both girls live in Andover.
“It’s been like Annie in stereo at rehearsals until recently,” says Jim Knowles, also of Andover, who plays Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks, the self-made millionaire who adopts Annie, the orphan, during the Great Depression of the 1930s. “Each girl brings a restless drive and energy to the part. That drive is a big part of the character.”
At the start of the story, Annie lives “A Hard-Knock Life” with many other little girls in an orphanage run by the tyrannical Miss Hannigan (Barbara Holbrook of Andover). Annie survives by dreaming of a better “Tomorrow.” Annie’s tomorrow becomes today when Oliver Warbuck’s assistant, Grace (Kaytie Longo of Lowell), chooses her to spend Christmas at the Warbucks mansion. The household staff and Warbucks himself quickly fall for the spunky girl and her dog, Sandy (played by Sam the golden retriever), and plans are made to adopt her.
But Annie’s happy future is threatened when the search for her biological parents leads to a plot by Miss Hannigan, her brother Rooster (Seamus Curtin-Orsmond), and his accomplice Lily (Sarah Knowles) to impersonate Annie’s parents in an attempt to claim the reward money.
Sam, the canine actor playing Sandy, was himself an orphan. Sam was adopted by Andover resident Cindy Brown from the MSPCA at Nevins Farm in Methuen. Brown trained Sam to play the part of Sandy, and he has played it in previous amateur performances. In Sam’s honor, proceeds from the show will be donated to the MSPCA at Nevins Farm.
Between the cast and the orchestra, more than 80 people will be performing; the majority comes from Andover, with representatives from North Andover, Boxford, Lowell, Carlisle, Mass. as well as Mason and Windham, N.H.