Dodger the dog looks lovingly at Ava Howie, playing the role of Annie, as she sings “Tomorrow” in rehearsal for the BAP production of the musical “Annie,” set for 2 p.m. Saturday at the SCCC Theater. L&T photo/Rachel Coleman
Show features dogs, children, comedy, music
By RACHEL COLEMAN
• Leader & Times
Whether or not this week’s unusual cloudy weather clears up, Liberal and area residents can catch a ray of sunshine at the Saturday production of “Annie,” staged by the young cast of the Broadway Academy of Performing. The full musical, with its signature songs “Tomorrow” and “It’s a Hard-Luck Life” begins at 2 p.m. in the Seward County Community College theater.
Campers arrived at SCCC exactly one week before the performance, and are in the thick of preparations for the show. Auditions began just a few hours after the students and their parents stowed sleeping bags and suitcases in the dorm, and selecting a cast was “brutal and cutthroat,” said camp director Alison Bridget Chambers, “because we have this insanely talented group of 20 kids. We’re already ahead of schedule because they want to work so hard. They asked to do a complete second run-through last night … so we did.”
Counselor and former camper Kasey Russell of Guymon agreed this group is special.
“They are wonderful, talented kids and they are doing such a great job,” she said.
Production director Marilyn Gates of Tulsa, a veteran theater teacher and performer, was also pleased at the caliber of the show.
“There are a lot of new kids at the camp this year,” she said, noting it’s her 10th year as show director, “and they jumped right in. If I didn’t know better, I’d think they were really orphans.”
The show’s cast includes three dogs, disproving the old theater adage “never work with children or animals.”
“We’ve got both,” said Chambers with a laugh, “and it’s going to be a great show.”
All three dogs in the show are from musical and theatrical households. Dodger, who plays the part of Sandy, adopted by the orphan Annie, lives with Tony and Lindsay Claus, both of whom work for USD 480; he is the vocal music teacher at Liberal High School. Chambers signed up her own two dogs, Princess and Dottie, to work as supporting canine characters.
The show has a little bit of everything from slapstick comedy to historic lessons about the Great Depression. Appropriately for a camp, it also offers a broad range of parts.
“Everyone gets a lot of stage time,” Chambers said. “There are the singing Boylen Sisters, who are a take-off from the Andrews sisters. There’s a wise-cracking comedian. There’s the president of the United States, the millionaire Daddy Warbucks, and all kinds of fun, wacky characters. Everyone gets showcased.”
Campers in the production represent the entire High Plains area, from Sublette to Forgan, Okla., Perryton, Texas, Elkhart, Guymon, Okla., and more.
Tickets for the 2 p.m. production of “Annie” are available at the door.