Performers ready to entertain in ‘Annie’ musical

Fans of musicals directed by Colleen Weimer will once again get to see an entertaining production, as she will bring together performers of a wide range of ages for the “Annie” musical, to be performed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7-9, at Grace United Church.

Unlike her previous musicals as the director at the Weyburn Comp School, there will be performers from young children up to adults gracing the stage and filling the various roles of the well-known musical.

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Some of the actors and actresses are former students, such as Jillian Harder as Miss Hannigan, and Josh Zackrisson as the millionaire Daddy Warbucks. The starring role of Annie is being filled by Brittany Barber, who is a singer with the children’s vocal group, Spirit of Grace.

Harder, whose last role before graduating this year was as Mrs. Potts in “Beauty and the Beast”, said it was difficult at first portraying Miss Hannigan, who runs the girls orphanage where Annie was a resident until she was taken home to Daddy Warbucks’ mansion.

Once she was interacting with the young girls (who are also members of Spirit of Grace) and having fun with them, “It was easier to step into the role. It’s definitely the complete opposite, as Mrs. Potts was very sweet and warm with her kids, whereas Miss Hannigan is not. I feed off of everyone’s reaction, and it’s a lot of fun.”

Harder added she’s enjoying the wide age range of this production, and seeing the different skill sets the other performers bring to it.

The role of Lily is being played by Kristen Keith, who said her character is “kind of trashy”.

“It’s been a really fun character to play. Everybody’s so energetic and we’re excited to show it off,” said Keith, adding that it’s different for her to be in a play with such a range of ages in the cast.

Andrea Sidloski is playing Grace, who is Daddy Warbucks’ personal secretary, and notes this is the first production she’s been able to be a part of since graduating four years ago.

One of the challenges for her is that she’s in a lot of the scenes as Warbucks’ secretary, interacting a lot with Annie after picking her out at the orphanage.

She chuckled as she pointed out that she is playing a secretary, a position she holds in real life at St. Vincent de Paul Church.

“I haven’t done anything theatrical in the last four years, so to come back and work with Mrs. Weimer is a huge pleasure,” said Sidloski, adding of the acting and singing, “For the most part, it comes really naturally.”

She said it’s made a lot easier by working with good people who all want to put on a good performance for the audiences, and added in this kind of creative atmosphere, “It’s impossible not to love every minute of it.”

Zackrisson said he was very glad Weimer called him to say she had a special part for him to play.

“It’s nice to be a part of it,” he said. “I really like the age differences. It reminds me more of the movie.”

“It’s a wonderful group of people who are full of energy, and they give it their all. It’s different from your typical high school musical, it’s more a community effort. The different ages lets you connect with them all,” he said. “It’s very fun.”

Zackrisson noted part of the fun is getting to know some of the adult performers who have been acting for a long time and are able to pass along stories and tips on performing.

For Brittany Barber, she admitted “it was hard at first” to take on a lead role that has a lot of lines and singing as the main character.

A big part of her work has been to learn all the lines that she has, and added, “It can be difficult, especially as this is my first big musical, and I got a pretty big role.”

Barber added that it’s also been “really fun” acting with people of all ages.

Asked about Annie’s character, she said, “She is quite similar to me, cause she’s quite sassy, but she can be quite sweet and kind at the same time.”

She hopes people will come out to enjoy seeing the show and seeing the cast have a good time acting and singing, adding, “It’s really fun to watch the acting. Everybody is so good at playing their role.”

The production will begin at 7 p.m. all three evenings, and tickets are available at the church office or at the door.